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Library branches back open for grab-and-go service

If books grab you, then you’ll surely be glad about the New York Public Library’s new grab-and-go service.

The library began a gradual reopening on July 13, with eight branches offering limited grab-and-go service. On Aug. 3, the N.Y.P.L. opened an additional 22 locations for grab-and-go.

Among the Manhattan branches now offering the service are Hudson Park, at 66 Leroy St.; Seward Park, at 192 E. Broadway; Tompkins Square, at 331 E. 10th St.; and Epiphany, at 228 E. 23rd St.

Check it out: A library staff member wearing PPE at S.N.F.L., the “Stavros” branch in Midtown. (Photo by Monique Jaques)

In addition, in some more good news for library lovers, the former Mid-Manhattan Library, at 40th St. and Fifth Ave., which closed for renovations three years ago, has now also opened for grab-and-go service. Now known as the the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library, only a small portion of its first floor is currently open. An official date for the grand reopening has not been set yet.

Library staff at S.N.F.L. stocking the grab-and-go shelf with “hold” books for patrons. (Photo by Monique Jaques)

Hours for all the grab-and-go branches are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday; 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesday; and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

Under the current grab-and-go rules, library-goers:

  • Can access a small area of the open branches to pick up and return checkouts placed online or on the phone (the process will be contactless)
  • Must wear masks (this is mandatory, per state guidelines)
  • Must physically distance from staff and other patrons
  • Must respect capacity limits inside the open locations
  • Must leave the libraries as soon as their pickups or returns are complete; at this stage, there will be no browsing, in-person reference or computer use
  • Can check out materials without accruing fines for the time being (fines will not accrue on items checked out before temporary closure or during this first phase of reopening)

All returned items will be quarantined for 96 hours before being recirculated, per updated guidelines from public health authorities.

“Hold” books awaiting pickup at S.N.F.L. (Photo by Monique Jaques)

Since the N.Y.P.L. branches’ reopening, as of Aug. 3, New Yorkers had reserved roughly 25,000 items. The most requested titles were:

  1. Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man, by Mary L. Trump, PhD.
  2. The Dutch House: A Novel, by Ann Patchett.
  3. The Order: A Novel, by Daniel Silva.
  4. Blindside, by James Patterson and James O. Born.
  5. American Dirt, by Jeanine Cummins.
  6. The Guest List: A Novel, by Lucy Foley.
  7. The Vanishing Half, by Brit Bennett.
  8. Normal People: A Novel, by Sally Rooney
  9. Where the Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens.
  10. Such a Fun Age: A Novel, by Kiley Reid.

While the N.Y.P.L. continues the gradual reopening of its physical locations, it will continue to offer a wide range of free educational, cultural and business programs online for all New Yorkers, which are available here. This includes e-books via the library’s e-reader SimplyE. Since the library’s temporary closure of physical locations began on March 16, the library has had 65,000 new SimplyE users and had more than 2 million e-checkouts.

A library-goer looks for her book or books on hold. After picking up their books, people must immediately leave the premises — no browsing is currently allowed. (Photo by Monique Jaques)
Books are dropped off in a large blue bin at S.N.F.L. Late fees for overdue books are currently being waived. (Photo by Monique Jaques)

The e-books New Yorkers checked out the most during lockdown are:

  1. White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism, by Robin DiAngelo
  2. The Glass Hotel, by Emily St. John Mandel
  3. My Dark Vanessa, by Kate Elizabeth Russell
  4. The Dutch House, by Ann Patchett
  5. Educated: A Memoir, by Tara Westover
  6. Becoming, by Michelle Obama
  7. The Nickel Boys, by Colson Whitehead
  8. How to Be an Antiracist, by By Ibram X. Kendi
  9. Normal People: A Novel, by Sally Rooney
  10. Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, HER Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed, by Lori Gottlieb

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