To the editor:
(re: “Waiting for the library,” April 15)
I would like to thank Joseph Smith for his recent letter about the Riverdale Library. We greatly appreciate and understand his concern.
While the Riverdale Library has been temporarily closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, the staff members are fine and have been providing assistance, both virtually and at other locations.
But, like all of us, they have missed their patrons and are eager to welcome them back to the branch. Of course, considering our unprecedented circumstance and our commitment to prioritizing the health and safety of our staff members and patrons, this is complicated.
Since last summer, the New York Public Library has implemented enhanced safety protocols across its system. Those protocols — which have been incredibly effective in all but eliminating transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19 at branches throughout the Bronx, Manhattan and Staten Island — require more staff and time per location, so we have needed to limit the number of locations that can open. The decisions around which locations to open were — and continue to be — difficult.
Fortunately, as the situation surrounding COVID-19 slowly improves, we’ve begun to see a light at the end of this long, difficult tunnel.
We are expanding service at our current open branches this spring, and are expecting to open more locations this summer.
The library will continue to be careful and cautious as we re-introduce service throughout the system. But with patience and fortitude, we will get there. Together.
We are as eager to get there as anyone.
The author is the borough director of the New York Public Library’s Bronx Neighborhood Library Networks.