March 16, 2020 By Allie Griffin
Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) announced last night that it is shutting down all its local branches–effective immediately–until further notice, amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The decision came after the New York Public Library — which includes libraries in Manhattan, Staten Island and the Bronx — announced Friday it was shutting its branches.
Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, Chair of the Cultural Affairs & Libraries Committee, urged the BPL, as well as the Queens Public Library, last week to shut down in tandem with the New York Public Library system.
“Library workers, who are information specialists, always want to serve our customers, particularly those most vulnerable in a crisis,” Van Bramer said. “But for the safety of all, closing all three systems at this time is the prudent thing to do.”
Urban Libraries Unite, a library advocacy group, echoed Van Bramer’s call Friday.
“We understand the vital role public libraries play in our communities better than anyone, however we also know that the patrons who are most likely to be harmed by the closure of public libraries are the same patrons who are most likely to be harmed by the spread of the virus,” Urban Libraries Unite said in a statement.
“For their health and safety, as well as the health and safety of staff and other community members, we urge the BPL and QPL leadership to make the same decision immediately.”
Finally, both QPL and BPL announced full closures last night beginning today.