Dear members,

I have really enjoyed seeing so many of you picking up and returning your books on the sidewalk over the past month! Thank you for your patience during this period while we worked out our new procedures. And a most sincere thank-you to all of you who donated so generously to our Spring Appeal and who have continued to support the Library with your gifts, your membership renewals, and your lovely notes. All of us here at the Library are so touched and thankful to serve you, our wonderful community of bibliophiles.

So it gives me great pleasure to announce that we will be re-opening the building on July 27 to allow members access to the book collections in the stacks and in the Children’s Library. We will continue to be open abbreviated hours, 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM daily, 7 days a week.

In this phase of reopening, members may once again browse our glorious open stacks and Children’s Library shelves for books to check out, but the reading and study spaces will not be accessible. We plan to reopen these spaces - Reference Room, Members’ Room, Whitridge Room, Little Whit, Hornblower Room, and the desks in the stacks – in a limited capacity at some future point. There will also be no access to Closed Stacks books, rare books, archives materials, current periodicals, or the online public access computers (OPACs) during this phase. So please check our catalog before you arrive, or use the handy QR code that will posted in the building to access the Library catalog on your phone.

For those who are not yet ready to come inside, we will continue with our book pickup service, so if you would like to place a hold on a book in the stacks, please email or call us at 212-288-6900 x211. As always, you may log in to your Library account to place holds on the most popular books. When you hear from us that your books are ready, you may pick them up from the bookshelves in the entry stairwell. We will continue to quarantine books for 3 days, so returns should continue to be placed in the marked bin. If you are sick or in a vulnerable category, please stay home and take care of yourself. Reach out to us and we will be happy to work with you to make arrangements to pick up or deliver your books. And remember – fines are still waived until further notice.

Our slow and cautious approach to reopening is to ensure the health and safety of our members and our staff, many of whom must travel quite a distance on mass transit to get to work. Our plan has been well thought out so that we can provide member services in the most manageable way while mitigating the risk of infection. Therefore, while you are in the building, we will require you to wear a mask/face and nose covering. Hand-sanitizer stations will be available in the Circulation Hall, by the stacks elevator, in the Children’s Library, and on the Fifth Floor. Signage throughout the building will remind everyone to wear your mask, wash your hands, and stay 6 feet apart as much as possible. We are providing gloves for staff and members to use while handling books, and especially request that you use them while browsing the new books shelves in the Lobby. We are limiting the number of members and staff in the building, and our new hours allow staff to travel to and from work at less busy times of day. We have installed acrylic barriers at the Circulation Desk, and have created a second checkout station in the Reference Room. Tape on the floor will mark off 6-foot distances to give you guidance. We have completely sanitized and disinfected our air-conditioning system, and we continue to work with our vendor to improve air quality and ventilation. And while we have always maintained a high level of cleanliness in the building, we have further increased our cleaning schedule and regimen. I hope that this gives you a measure of comfort as we move forward with our reopening plan.

I look forward to seeing you – behind a mask and from a safe 6-foot distance! Feel free to email me directly if you have any questions at all. 
News and Links

No surprise: e-book checkouts increased 79% during our March-June closing. Head of Acquisitions Steven McGuirl offers an overview of what we read .

Since major travel may be out of the picture this summer, we present a new list of Books to Take You Elsewhere, recommended by staff .

Circulation staffer Kirsten Carleton adds to her list of lockdown learning by making (and reading about) jam at home .
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Clifford Thompson
What It Is: Race, Family, and One Thinking Black Man's Blues
Monday, July 20, 6:00 PM
 online | $10 per person | registration required

An African-American writer’s concise, heartfelt take on the state of his nation, exploring the war between the values he has always held and the reality with which he is confronted in twenty-first-century America.

Clifford Thompson’s work has appeared in publications including The Best American Essays 2018, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Threepenny Review, and The Village Voice. He is the recipient of a Whiting Award for nonfiction and teaches at New York University, Sarah Lawrence College, and the Bennington Writing Seminars.
For the rest of the summer, we'll be gathering online to catch up with and chat about some favorite recorded events of the past few years. All are free of charge - just drop in to our YouTube channel on any of these dates at 6:00 PM and look for the premiere.

  • Thursday, July 23: Madeline Miller, Circe (originally February 21, 2019)
  • Monday, July 27: Robert A. Caro, Working: Researching, Interviewing, Writing, with Brenda Wineapple, The Impeachers: The Trial of Andrew Johnson and the Dream of a Just Nation (originally December 11, 2019)
  • Tuesday, August 4: Suketu Mehta, This Land Is Our Land: An Immigrant's Manifesto (originally November 19, 2019)
The event with S.A. Cosby on Blacktop Wasteland , originally scheduled for July 30, will now take place on Tuesday, September 22.
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Open daily 11:00 AM - 4:00 PM