Queens Public Library, and the city’s other library systems — Brooklyn Public Library and New York Public Library — will suspend all public programming beginning Friday, March 13. The city’s library branches will remain open to serve its customers on a regular schedule.
“In support of the city’s efforts to limit the spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19), all New York City public libraries are suspending public programming and events from Friday, March 13, until Tuesday, March 31,” the library systems said in a joint statement. “The decision to cancel library programs was not taken lightly, as programs such as story times, technology training classes and English language classes are lifelines for so many. But considering the current situation, and the need to limit large crowds, this was the most responsible path forward to support the health and well-being of our communities. It is important to note that the city’s libraries will remain open, and continue to offer access to books, public computers, Wi-Fi, expert staff recommendations, and a variety of resources and computers dedicated to the census.”
The city invested more than $1.4 million in an unprecedented partnership with the three public library systems to help count every New Yorker in the 2020 census which is now underway. The funding allows library branches across the five boroughs to conduct census outreach and provide internet access as part of the city’s broader $40 million investment in NYC Census 2020’s campaign to combat the fear and disinformation resulting from the specter of the defeated citizenship question, as well as bridge the digital divide that has left hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers without regular, reliable access to the internet. The census will be online for the first time.
“Our job is to get every New Yorker counted, and we’ll only be able to do our job by partnering with the libraries, which serve as among the most trusted voices in communities across the city,” NYC Census Director Julie Menin said when the partnership was launched in August. “With this investment, together, we will combat the fear and misinformation about the census created by the Trump administration, and also bridge the digital divide that would create barriers for New Yorkers to stand up and be counted, no matter where they live or what language they speak.”
While Queens Public Library is suspending classes, community rook requests, workshops programming and events such as events celebrating Women’s History Month at several branches across the borough, it will continue to sign up IDNYC members at registration kiosks. QPL will continue to monitor the rapidly evolving information and guidance about COVID-19 from the New York City Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control to help customers and staff stay informed and healthy, and to respond to the situation as needed.
QPL has increased the frequency of cleaning and disinfecting surfaces like door handles and knobs, tabletops, counters, check-out and check-in machines, elevator buttons and computer equipment at all of its branches and locations. All toys have been removed from the children’s areas.
“Thank you for your understanding and cooperation as the situation with COVID-19 unfolds,” QPL said in a statement. “We are more committed now than ever to serving our communities and the people of Queens and beyond, no matter who you are or where you are from.”
For more information and updates, visit QPL’s website here.