Queens Library to Reopen After 15-month Shutdown

Starting a New Chapter

Book lovers of Astoria can rejoice as the Queens Public Library (QPL) enters its final phase of reopening. After 15 months of being shut down, the QPL reactivated most of its 62 branches for the browsing and pick-up of materials beginning in late July.

Starting July 6, masks are now optional for staff and customers who are fully vaccinated and required for individuals who are not fully vaccinated. Customers can enjoy unlimited browsing and open seating at their local libraries, without time limits or distancing requirements.

Photo Jason D. Antos
The Astoria branch of the Queens Public Library located at 40-20 Broadway.

“In order to help stem the spread of COVID-19, the Queens Public Library closed all of our physical locations on March 16, 2020. Since then, thanks to our dedicated and talented staff, we have adapted quickly and resolutely to meet our mission, delivering critical services, programs, and resources to the public remotely and offering everyone no matter who they are, where they come from, or the challenges of our uncertain times, the chance to realize the promise of their lives,” said QPL President and CEO Dennis M. Wallcot in a recent statement. “We also have been coordinating with Brooklyn Public Library and The New York Public Library and ensuring consistency of service across the city.”

QPL’s return is part of the greater city-wide reopening which is set to go into full swing by the middle of August and also coincides with the QPL 125th anniversary.

The Flushing, Glendale, Ozone Park, Pomonok, Queens Village, South Jamaica, Broadway, Steinway, and Woodhaven branches will remain unavailable to the public due to construction, needed repairs, or their temporary use for other purposes; for example, serving as vaccination sites for the city.

For people wanting to research the history of Queens and greater New York City as well as Long Island, the Queens Library Archives will also be reopening after more than a year of suspended services. Located at the Central Branch in Jamaica, the department provides historical files, old newspapers, photographs, and maps. If you plan on visiting, an appointment must first be arranged by calling the Archives at 718.990.0770.

Guests to the library can enjoy various services including free internet, resume writing classes, thousands of DVDs and BluRays and now on-demand printing. For those who do not own a home printer, the library will print 20 pages of material per day for free! Just simply send the file to their on-demand printing portal and within 48 hours your documents will be ready for pick-up from your local branch.

Photo Courtesy Queens Public Library Archives
Youngsters line up for the Queens Public Library book mobile during its summer reading program circa 1925.

The first library in Queens was organized in 1858 in Flushing on a subscription basis. In 1896, several other communities started local library service including Steinway, Hollis, Queens Village, Richmond Hill, Ozone Park, Long Island City, and Astoria. These seven libraries formed the nucleus of the present-day Queens Library. Long Island City, Steinway, and Astoria branches were members of the Long Island City Public Library, chartered in 1896. 

At the beginning of this August, all library branches across Queens plan to return to a state of normalcy after undergoing a four-phase reopening plan which was launched in May. For more information visit, queenslibrary.org