Coronavirus forces city’s three library systems to suspend public events

The New York Public Library in Midtown. (Photo via Getty Images)

The New York, Brooklyn and Queens Public Libraries are suspending all public events through the end of March due to the coronavirus outbreak.

In a joint statement Thursday, the libraries announced that public programming and events scheduled between March 13 and March 31 will be suspended indefinitely. The libraries’ branches will remain open and offer access to materials, public computers and internet access.

“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,” according to the joint statement. “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.”

All three libraries reported that staff have increased the frequency of cleaning and disinfecting public areas and frequently touched surfaces at every branch since the coronavirus outbreak began. Hand sanitizer is also available to visitors at locations.

Queens Public Library noted that it is also stepping up the availability of ebooks, audiobooks and other digital material to card-carrying members. Anyone who wishes to access library services without visiting a branch can call the branch or use the “Ask-a-Librarian” program online at queenslibrary.org.

New York Public Library users can also access digital resources 24/7 at the system’s website, nypl.org.

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