Bookworms rejoice. The Boston Public Library will soon be back in business.
Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced Thursday morning that starting June 22, the Central Library in Copley Square and four branches around the city will launch “to-go” pickup of books and other materials. The program will expand to more branches in the weeks to come.
“In Boston, our library system has worked hard to provide the services that so many of our residents rely on, and this work has continued throughout this public health crisis,” Walsh said in a statement. “Bringing additional services back to residents is part of our phased, careful reopening process, and I look forward to residents using these important services.”
Libraries have stayed busy online during the coronavirus crisis, lending digital copies of books and shifting some in-person programming — such as seminars and children’s story times — online. They’re allowed to start to opening in person in Phase 2 of the Baker administration’s reopening guidelines, which began Monday, but most larger systems are holding off for now, focusing instead on offering books via curbside pickup.
Newton Free Library, for instance, launched “to-go” pickup last week, while Cambridge Public Library began accepting returns on Monday and will begin contactless pickup at the main library on June 16.
Boston will start June 22 with pickup during limited hours at the Central Library as well as branches in Codman Square, East Boston, Jamaica Plain, and Mattapan. More libraries will be added soon. There will be no browsing; patrons only will be able to borrow books they’ve put on hold, when they come available. Returned books will be quarantined for 72 hours before being put back into circulation.
“We are so glad to return this first in-person service to our patrons, to complement the online services we have rolled out since we closed in March,” said BPL president David Leonard. “For several weeks, we have been planning how to safely return to in-person service.”
If you’ve got books out, they’ll take them back, too, with no overdue fines until at least Sept. 1. So get reading.