Six Branches Open for In-Building Services | More Info

June 1, 2021 | Library News


Call the branches. Phone numbers can be found here



Reminder: Masks covering the mouth and nose are to be worn by everyone (age 2 and older) in the library. Anyone who won’t wear a mask will be asked to leave.

Washington Ave. Open, More Morning & Evening Hours at Other Branches (New 6/1/21)

Current Services & Hours by Branch

Pandemic Operations Plan, including Continuation of Service Plan 

Live Virtual Programs Hosted by APL

Video Programs Created by Staff on YouTube

Listen to APL’s Albany Made Podcast 

COVID-19 Vaccine & Other Resources 



Updated 6/1/21 at 2:50 pm

Great news for patrons: Washington Ave. Branch is now open and five branches are adding hours starting today, June 1! With these changes, APL is operating at 93% of its pre-pandemic capacity.

“The COVID-19 numbers, vaccination rates, and operational capacity are finally at a place where we are almost back to ‘normal’. We’re thrilled to provide our community with a more traditional library experience,” said APL Executive Director Scott C. Jarzombek.

See the current hours at all branches



Updated 5/26/21 at 3:00 pm

APL will open the Washington Ave. Branch and add hours at five branches starting Tuesday, June 1.

“We are pleased to be at a stage in the pandemic where it is safe and viable to open our largest location, the Washington Ave. Branch, for full in-person services,” said APL Executive Director Scott C. Jarzombek. “We’re excited to welcome patrons inside Washington Ave. to browse the collection, use computers, get librarian assistance, and for all of our other regular services.” 

The other five open branches—Arbor Hill/West Hill, Bach, Delaware, Howe, and Pine Hills—will each add between six and eight more hours per week. Every branch, including Washington Ave., will provide morning and evening hours. And three locations—Arbor Hill/West Hill, Bach, and Delaware—are open on Saturdays. All branches remain closed on Sundays for the summer.

Appointments are still recommended to use computers and pick up materials curbside, but there are no limits on building capacity or length of visit in the branches. Masks are still required in library buildings.

“Starting June 1, we will be operating at 93% of our pre-pandemic capacity,” Jarzombek said. “We’ve been adding in-person services and hours at our branches since last July. The COVID-19 numbers, vaccination rates, and operational capacity are finally at a place where we are almost back to ‘normal’. We’re thrilled to provide our community with a more traditional library experience.”

Read the full article and see the NEW hours, which start on Tuesday, JUNE 1.



Updated 4/12/21 at 1:55 pm

Albany Public Library is greatly expanding access to services by adding evening and Saturday hours at select branches starting today, Monday, April 12. A total of 27 open hours every week are being added across the district.

Six branches are currently open 12 pm to 6 pm Monday through Friday. The ADDED hours are as follows:

Mondays until 8 pm
• Howe Branch
• Pine Hills Branch 
Tuesdays until 8 pm
• Arbor Hill/West Hill Branch 
• Delaware Branch 
Wednesdays until 8 pm
• Washington Ave. Branch
Thursdays until 8 pm
• Bach Branch
Saturdays 12-5 pm
• Arbor Hill/West Hill Branch (Starts April 24)
• Bach Branch
• Delaware Branch
(Note, the North Albany Branch is not included as the building in which it is housed is closed pending construction by the property owner, the City School District of Albany.)

Read the full story and see the list of current hours and services



Updated 3/15/21 at 1:00 pm

Albany Public Library’s largest branch is opening March 15 for curbside pickup of materials. The Washington Ave. Branch, at 161 Washington Ave., is hosting drive up service as well as walk up service.

“We are thrilled to be welcoming patrons back to the Washington Ave. Branch for the first time in a year to pick up library books, DVDs, and other items via our contactless curbside pickup service,” said APL Executive Director Scott C. Jarzombek. “It’s been exactly one year since we closed the library down due to COVID-19. The fact that we are able to reopen our biggest location today is a huge milestone, and a testament to the resilience, effort, and commitment of the staff to safely provide services to our community.”

Starting today, March 15, patrons who wish to pick up items at the Washington Ave. Branch may request books, audiobooks, DVDs, CDs, and museum passes by phone (518-427-4313), email (, or the online catalog. Once the items arrive at the branch, staff notify the patrons and schedule a pickup time. Once patrons arrive at the branch for their scheduled appointment, staff either place items in the vehicle trunk or back seat, or on a table outside the building.

Read the full article



Updated 3/8/21 at 12:15 pm

Five Albany Public Library branches are adding services starting March 8, including browsing the collections.

“We’re now more open and are welcoming an increased number of people into our buildings to use added library services. The biggest change is that patrons are now able to browse select collections at five of our branches. Three locations are allowing more people inside for services by following a headcount model. And two branches are now providing in-building services by appointment,” said APL Executive Director Scott C. Jarzombek. 

Operating hours at the branches are 12 pm to 5:30 pm. Here are the services now available:

Browsing of the Physical Collections Inside at Arbor Hill/West Hill, Bach, Delaware, Howe, and Pine Hills
Each building has browsing areas for select parts of the collection, including new releases, books, DVDs, youth materials, and more. The items are checked out inside at the circulation desks.

In-Building Services at Bach and Delaware
Library users make appointments to copy, print, scan, and fax documents or to purchase CDTA Navigator passes inside at these two locations. This service is also continuing at the Arbor Hill/West Hill, Howe, and Pine Hills branches.

Expanding of Services Based on Building Capacity at Arbor Hill/West Hill, Howe, and Pine Hills
In-building services—computer use, copy/print/scan/fax documents, purchase CDTA Navigator passes, get reference assistance from a librarian, and limited browsing—are based on the capacity of each building due to social distancing guidelines. Appointments are still strongly suggested for most services.

Read the full article here.



Updated 3/4/21 at 11:45 am)

Albany Public Library is entering a new stage of pandemic operations this week. Staff have returned to the buildings full time to prepare for the addition of new services, including browsing the collection, and the opening of the Washington Ave. Branch for curbside pickup.

“We are pleased to be opening for additional services at more Albany Public Library branch locations over the next few weeks. I think our patrons will be most excited to hear that we are adding curbside pickup at the Washington Ave. Branch and allowing browsing of the physical collections at five branches,” said APL Executive Director Scott C. Jarzombek.

The library is officially moving into Phase 2B of the Continuation of Service Plan, which allows for opening of select locations with a strict headcount. APL moves into a new phase when the 7-day rolling average of positive COVID-19 tests in Albany County stays below a certain percentage for 14 consecutive days. For Phase 2B, that is below 3.0%. Organizational capacity is also a key consideration when expanding operations.

Here is a rundown of the service and location additions coming in the next several weeks:
• Browsing of the physical collections inside the branches
• Opening of the Washington Ave. Branch for curbside pickup
• Opening of the Bach and Delaware branches for in-building appointments
• Expanding of appointment services based on building capacity 

Dates and details will be shared on the website and via social media. 

Read the full article here



Updated 2/15/21 at 1:30 pm

Albany Public Library resumes in-person appointment services at three branches — Arbor Hill/West Hill, Howe, and Pine Hills — —starting Feb. 15. This is due to the continuing decrease in Covid numbers in Albany County and the APL Continuation of Service Plan.

Starting Feb. 15, library patrons may use the following services, all of which require an appointment, at the Arbor Hill/West Hill, Howe, and Pine Hills branches:
• Copy, print, scan, and fax documents
• Use a computer
• Purchase or replenish a CDTA Navigator card
• Get reference and research assistance from a librarian
• Utilize a notary (limited branches and hours)
• Pick up items that have been put on hold

Patrons can request appointments by calling the branches directly:
• Arbor Hill/West Hill Branch at (518) 694-0596 x221
• Howe Branch at (518) 472-9485 x221.
• Pine Hills Branch at (518) 482-7911 x221
Appointments are available Monday through Friday from 12:30 pm to 5:30 pm. Times and services may be limited due to availability, staffing, and distancing requirements.

Curbside pickup appointments are continuing at Arbor Hill/West Hill, Howe, and Pine Hills, in addition to Bach and Delaware. The North Albany and Washington Ave. branches remain closed.



Updated 1/13/21 at 12:45 pm

The library now has a more wide-ranging and comprehensive Pandemic Operations Plan, which was approved by the APL Board of Trustees on Jan. 12.

This plan includes the Continuation of Service Plan, which has been in place since March 2020. You can now find the Continuation of Service metrics, grids, and phases on pages 18-23 of the Pandemic Operations Plan.

Several changes have been made to the Continuation of Service section. These changes are based on guidance from the CDC, WHO, Covid Act Now, and several state libraries. We also considered our experience observing APL operations during the last 10 months and the operations of other libraries across the country. We felt that the changes, which were approved by the library’s board last night, will ensure safe operations for staff and patrons while allowing for additional library services. You’ll find the updated Continuation of Service section on pages 18-23.



Updated 12/7/20 at 2:30 pm

Albany Public Library will temporarily close for in-building appointment services starting Tuesday, Dec. 8, due to the surge in positive cases of COVID-19 in Albany County.

“We have been preparing for the possibility that an increase in the virus spread in our community would require the library to move back a phase. Unfortunately, the time has come for us to stop in-building services,” said APL Executive Director Scott C. Jarzombek. “We take this step regretfully and want to assure the community that delivering library services as safely as possible is our main concern right now.”

The library is rolling back from Phase 2A into Phase 1B based on the positive daily test rate in Albany County, which has remained at or above 3% for the past 14 days. 

During the building closure, patrons will still be able to:



Updated 11/17/20 at 12:30 pm

The Pine Hills Branch is now open for in-person services by appointment. The location at 517 Western Ave. joins two other branches, Arbor Hill/West Hill and Howe, in providing appointment-based, in-building services and assistance.

“Everyone at APL is pleased to welcome patrons back to the Pine Hills Branch for in-person services, which include using computers, making copies, faxing documents, and getting information and research assistance from librarians,” said APL Executive Director Scott C. Jarzombek.

The following in-person services are now available at Pine Hills, as well as at Arbor Hill/West Hill and Howe:
• Copy, print, scan, and fax documents
• Use a computer
• Purchase or replenish a CDTA Navigator card
• Get reference and research assistance from a librarian
• Utilize a notary (limited branches and hours)
• Pick up requested books, DVDs, and other materials (inside the building or curbside)

Appointments for all services are required and are available Monday through Friday from 12:00 pm to 5:30 pm. Times and services may be limited due to availability, staffing, and distancing requirements. Please call the appropriate branch to make an appointment.
• Pine Hills Branch | (518) 472-7911 x221 | 517 Western Ave.
• Arbor Hill/West Hill Branch | (518) 694-0596 x221 | 148 Henry Johnson Blvd.
• Howe Branch | (518) 472-9485 x221 | 105 Schuyler St.

Read more about the in-person services that are now available by appointment at Pine Hills, Arbor Hill/West Hill, and Howe. 



Updated Sept. 14, 2020 at 2:20 pm

We are now providing in-building appointment services at two locations—Arbor Hill/West Hill Branch at 148 Henry Johnson Blvd. and Howe Branch at 105 Schuyler St.

Starting today, Sept. 14, library patrons may use the following services at Arbor Hill/West Hill and Howe, all of which require an appointment:
• Copy, print, scan, fax documents
• Use a computer
• Purchase or replenish a CDTA Navigator card
• Get reference and research assistance from a librarian
• Utilize a notary (limited branches and hours)

Patrons can request appointments by calling the Arbor Hill/West Hill Branch at (518) 694-0596 x221 or the Howe Branch at (518) 472-9485 x221.

Appointments are available Monday through Friday from 12:30 pm to 5:30 pm. Times and services may be limited due to availability, staffing, and distancing requirements.

Read more about in-person services that are available by appointment at two locations.



Updated July 30, 2020 at 3:50 pm

Starting on Tuesday, Aug. 4, Albany Public Library (APL) patrons will be able to pick up items in person by appointment at three additional branches—Arbor Hill/West Hill, Howe, and Pine Hills.

Curbside pickup service first began earlier this month at the Bach and Delaware branches.

The contactless curbside pickup service will be available at a total of five APL branches: Arbor Hill/West Hill Branch on Henry Johnson Blvd., Bach Branch on New Scotland Ave., Delaware Branch on Delaware Ave., Howe Branch on Schuyler St., and Pine Hills Branch on Western Ave.

Starting today, July 30, library patrons may request books, audiobooks, DVDs, and CDs by phone, email, or the online catalog from all five of the curbside pickup branches.

Read the instructions on how to request and pick up items from five APL  branches



Updated July 8, 2020 at 4:55 pm

Patrons are now able to request items and pick them up in person by appointment at the Bach Branch and the Delaware Branch through a new contactless curbside pickup service.

“We’re excited to resume in-person services with curbside pickup at two of our branches. The staff has been working to increase our services to the public in this unprecedented time,” said APL Executive Director Scott C. Jarzombek. The new service started on July 6.

Library patrons may request books, audiobooks, DVDs, and CDs by phone, email, or the online catalog. Once the items arrive at the selected pickup location, staff will inform the patrons and schedule a pickup time.

Check out the details on how to request items and pick them up via the curbside service.

Watch the curbside pickup instruction video.



Update: June 10, 2020 at 4:o5 pm

We are beginning to prepare for the resumption of in-person services with the return of staff to the buildings.

“We are excited to see staff return to work in our library buildings after several long months of working from home creating virtual programs, providing information through a virtual reference desk, and crafting plans to resume in-person services for our patrons,” said APL Executive Director Scott C. Jarzombek.

“Getting staff into the buildings is an important first step. It allows us to implement safety protocols, adjust furniture and work stations for social distancing, and prepare the libraries for safe patron interactions,” he said.

When the Capital Region was cleared to enter New York State reopening Phase 2 last week, the library officially entered Phase 1A of its Continuation of Service Plan.

Facilities staff began regular schedules in the buildings on June 8, and the rest of the staff will report to work in the buildings on June 15. The library is following state guidelines regarding staff placement and scheduling.

“After staff are in place, we will begin gearing up to open our book drops and start curbside pickup for requested items. These services are expected to start in the next few weeks,” Jarzombek said. Both services are in APL Phase 1B.

When the book drops open sometime next week, patrons can return all of the library books, DVDs, and other items they have at home. APL is a fine-free library, so there will be no late fines for any returned items. To ensure the safety of materials, returned items will be quarantined for 72 hours before they are checked in and put back into the collection for others to borrow.

Curbside pickup for requested items is the next service in line and will begin at select library branches a few weeks after the book drops open. Staff are finalizing a plan where patrons can use several methods to contact the library and request items from the APL collection that will be brought to a specific branch for contactless pickup.

After curbside pickup is up and running, patrons will be welcome to visit select library branches for appointment-only services. Details for this in-person service, which falls into APL Phase 2A, are also being finalized.

“The safety of our staff and patrons is paramount in our phased approach to resuming in-person services. We designed the plan so we could make adjustments along the way to account for changes in public health and safety recommendations and staff capacity,” Jarzombek said. Moving into each subsequent phase of the APL plan is contingent on the library’s capability to expand services and current public health recommendations.

Read the full Continuation of Service Plan



Update: May 14, 2020 at 4:10 pm

The Albany Public Library Board of Trustees unanimously approved the Continuation of Service Plan, a document that guides the library through a phased approach to reopening buildings and resuming in-person services, at its March 12 virtual meeting. (Download a PDF of the full plan)

“We have created a multi-step, five-phase plan that gradually reintroduces in-person services and slowly reopens the library buildings in a way that matches the capacity of the organization to each stage of the process,” said Scott C. Jarzombek, APL’s executive director. “As we resume normal operations, the health and well-being of our staff and our patrons are paramount. We are dedicated to doing our job as a library, and insist on doing it as responsibly as possible.”

The library’s Continuation of Service Plan was developed by administration based on information and guidance from the CDC, WHO, state, county, and Upper Hudson Library System (UHLS).

There is no start date for the plan. It will begin when New York State allows the Capital Region to reach phase 2 of the NYS Priority Industries for Re-Opening and upon approval by the APL Board of Trustees. Moving into each subsequent phase will be contingent on the library’s capability to expand services, and must be approved by the library board.



Update: May 4, 2020 at 5:50 pm

You can find a bunch of new storytime videos for your preschoolers on YouTube:

Mr. Dan reads “The Wall in the Middle of the Road” and “Giraffes Can’t Dance” (11 minutes)

Miss Amy reads “Wow! Said the Owl: A Book About Colors” (5 minutes)

Miss Sarah sings “Everybody Knows That I Love My Toes” and “Stick to the Glue” in a musical storytime (5 minutes)

Miss Sarah reads “10 Little Rubber Ducks” and signs “When Ducks Get Up in the Morning” (9 minutes)

Mr. Anthony reads “I’ll Wait, Mr. Panda” (5 minutes)

Mr. John reads “Six-Dinner Sid” and “May I Bring a Friend” (12 minutes)

Mr. Dan reads “Bruce’s Big Storm” and “After the Fall” (13 minutes)

Miss Christina reads “Piranhas Don’t Eat Bananas” and “I Am Bat” (11 minutes)

We have a new arts-and-crafts video series for kids and teens now. Trash Crafts videos will be posted to YouTube every Monday. The videos feature instructions on how to make a craft using items you already have at home.

All of the Albany Made podcast episodes can now be found on YouTube, as well. We’ve been producing the podcast for a few years now, so there are plenty of episodes on a variety of topics to sample.



Update: April 25, 2020 at 9:00 am

The latest episode of “Browser” is available on YouTube now. Luke gets all in his feelings with two books he’s laughed and cried to recently. Then, he does as Stephen King would do and finally picks his favorite book. “Browser” is a weekly show during which Luke, from the Howe Branch, shares book and audiobook recommendations for digital titles that are available on Hoopla, Overdrive, and Libby.

We’re in the midst of National Volunteer Week, and staff created a video to show our volunteers how much we appreciate their valuable contributions to the library



Update: April 21, 2020 at 5:20 pm

The latest Albany Made podcast focuses on two wonderful University at Albany organizations, the College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity (CEHC) and the NYS Writers Institute (NYSWI). Hear about the library’s participation in a CEHC project to 3D print face shields for healthcare workers at Albany Medical Center. And listen to NYSWI Director Paul Grondahl talk about his organization, its multi-faceted relationship with the library, and his transition from journalist and author to director.

Listen to the episode on YouTube or SoundCloud.



Update: April 18, 2020 at 8:30 am

Visit our YouTube channel to watch the newest APL-produced storytimes and shows. Here are the latest videos:

Browser #4: “We Interrupt this Program…” — All about the new Hoopla streaming service available to patrons. A quirky funny 3-minute episode.

Mr. John did two storytimes in Spanish for our bilingual and Spanish-speaking families“Donde Viven los Monstruos” (5 minutes) and “Dragones y tacos” (7 minutes)

Miss Sarah reads “Big Wheels” and “The Construction Crew” in this outdoor storytime in front of a backhoe (8 minutes)

Miss Lisa, Mr. Lee & Miss Krystyna join forces for a book (“Silly Sally”), a flannel board (“Five Knights), and a song (“There is Clapping in the Castle”) in this video (9-minutes)

Miss Melissa reads “Where is the Green Sheep” and “The Up and Down Book” in this baby bounce storytime (9 minutes)

Miss Amy reads “Boats” and “Tip Tip Dig Dig” (9 minutes)

Miss Elnora reads “Pass it On” (6 minutes)

Miss Melissa reads “Peck Peck Peck” and “City Animals” (8 minutes)

And you won’t find it on YouTube, but we have a new crossword puzzle for you celebrating poetry month.

APL is posting new content every week, so check back here and visit @AlbanyNYLibrary on YouTube for the newest videos.



Update: April 13, 2020 at 2:50 pm

APL is thrilled to add Hoopla to our digital collection for you! Patrons can download and stream movies, television shows, music, comics, books, and audiobooks from the Hoopla platform.

You can enjoy these items on your computer, tablet, or phone – and even your TV! There is no waiting, so titles can be streamed immediately, or downloaded to phones or tablets for offline enjoyment later.

Albany Public Library provides you 5 instant borrows each month. These digital borrows will reset every month and you can borrow more than one title at a time. Books are available for 21 days, videos are available for 72 hours, and music titles are available for 7 days after you borrow.

Hoopla is available on your desktop, phone, tablet, Alexa devices, Roku, Apple TV, Fire TV, and Android TV. Make sure to download the app to take your borrows anywhere. There’s even a “kids mode” that parents can enable for kid-friendly searching.

You’ll need create a free Hoopla account, and will need your library card number to get started. If you need help with that, please contact APL at:   (518) 217-5601   (518) 217-8554   (518) 217-8323  Mon-Fri at 10am-6pm

Give Hoopla a try today!



Update: April 13, 2020 at 10:00 am

APL is reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone this month, and we invite you to read along with us!

We promise you’ll have fun, whether you’re a Potterhead who has read all of the books multiple times, or a newbie who is trying the series for the first time! 



Update: April 11, 2020

One of our awesome staff members, Chris from the Pine Hills Branch, is a talented crossword puzzle maker. He’s crafting some puzzles that will challenge and entertain you at home.

The first puzzle is “Staying Healthy.” Print out the PDF and give it a try!



Update: April 10, 2020

Luke is back with a new episode of “Browser,” in which he explores all things television…in books! There are books about your favorite shows, a book soon-to-be on tv, reality television tell-alls, tv series’ cookbooks, and more. Watch the 8-minute episode on YouTube



Update: April 8, 2020

We’ve got some new virtual storytimes for you. Many of the videos contain action rhymes and singalongs. These storytimes make a great addition to your preschooler’s naptime routine!

Miss Alex reads 2 Pete the Cat stories: “I Love My White Shoes” and “His Four Groovy Buttons” (11 minutes)

Miss Elnora reads “Please Take Me for a Walk” & featuring “Rags the Dog” singalong with Mr. Marty (7 minutes)

Miss Amy reads “Birds” and “Hooray for Birds!” (9 minutes)

Mr. Dan reads “Punk Farm on Tour” with a “Wheels on the Bus” singalong (8 minutes)

Mr. John reads “We are Tired of Living in a House” and “Where the Wild Things Are” (11 minutes)



Update: April 3, 2020

We’ve got several new storytime videos by our staff and the second episode of Browser for your watching pleasere.

Browser Episode #2: “Garden Party” — This week on Browser, Luke shows you how to request a new book for the collections, explores gardening books for adults and children, and recommends a book he wishes he could read for the first time, again. (7 minutes)

Miss Amy & Mr. Lee read “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt,” “Five Teddy Bears,” and “There’s a Bear on My Chair” (11 minutes)

Miss Christina reads “My Truck is Stuck” and “Dear Zoo” (12 minutes)

Mr. Anthony reads “Bark George” and “Max at Night” (11 minutes)



Update: April 2, 2020

We’re always looking for fun online activities for kids and teens to do at home. Here are a few new ones we found:

Harry Potter at Home — Craft videos, articles, puzzles, games, and more

NASA at Home — Space and STEM activities for grades K-8

MiSci on the Move — Educational videos featuring MiSci educators



Update: April 1, 2020

We’ve got a couple more virtual storytimes for you and your little ones, plus a how-to guide on completing the U.S. Census.

Miss Kristine reads “Favorite Nursery Rhymes from Mother Goose” (8 minutes)

Miss Sarah reads “Today is Monday” and “Seals on the Bus” (11 minutes)

Step-by-step guide on how to fill out the Census questionnaire online (12 minutes)



Update: March 28, 2020 at 11:25 am

We’ve added two more videos to our YouTube channel:

Storytime with Mr. John who reads “May I Bring a Friend?” (5-minute video)

Episode #1 of “Browser,” a weekly show where Luke shares tips with adults about using our digital collection, book suggestions and more (7-minute video)

Here’s a full list of our virtual programs, which will be updated regularly.



Update: March 26, 2020 at 5:15 pm

We’re starting to post virtual programs to help keep you entertained and informed during our coronavirus closure. Staff are working on virtual storytimes, book recommendations, how-to videos, podcasts, activities, and more.

For now, we’re starting out with a virtual storytime with Miss Alex and a new podcast episode about COVID-19.

We hope you enjoy these virtual programs. Stay tuned as there are more to come!


Update: March 26, 2020 at 12:50 pm

All Albany Public Library (APL) locations will remain closed until further notice due to the continuing COVID-19 outbreak. APL will continue to provide virtual services, materials, and programming through its website and social media channels during the closure.

The library’s Board of Trustees agreed to the continued closure at a meeting on March 24. The board will reassess at the April 14 meeting, which will be conducted virtually and livestreamed on YouTube (@AlbanyNYLibrary).

The board also reviewed a COVID-19 Continuation of Service Plan developed by Executive Director Scott C. Jarzombek and the library’s leadership team. The plan employs a phased approach to reopening the library, taking into consideration guidelines provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organization, New York State, and Albany County. 

At this point, there is no date set for the reopening plan to begin. There are six phases to the plan, and each of them are expected to last up to about four weeks. The phases are: (1) staff return to buildings for cleaning and preparation; (2) select locations open with fewer hours, limited services, and no programs or meetings; (3) all locations open with limited hours and services, and no programs or meetings; (4) all locations open with regular hours with limits on some services and no programs or meetings; (5) limited programming and meetings are allowed with limits on how many are held in each building and on attendance; and (6) full operation with heightened cleaning and distancing protocols remaining in place.

“The intent of this plan is to lay out a patient and careful approach to resuming library operations, so that we can provide needed services to the public while modeling the level of responsibility everyone in the community should be following,” Jarzombek said.

During the closure, APL is providing the following virtual services, materials, and programs:

Contact APL Staff Monday-Friday at 10 am-6 pm

Call any of these phone numbers: (518) 217-5601    (518) 217-8554    (518) 217-8323  

Or send an email to 

Download Digital Material (eBooks, eAudiobooks, eMagazines, eVideos)

Download these items through the APL website and corresponding apps for personal tablets, smartphones, and other devices. Look for the free Libby, OverDrive, and Flipster apps on any device app store.

Explore Cultural, Educational, and Entertainment Venues Online

Enjoy art, history, music, architecture, heritage, zoos, museums and more from the comfort of home. Check out this list of links.

Access Databases for Research and Education

Use databases including Ancestry, Britannica Academic, Health Reference Center Academic, and New York State Newspapers via the APL website. 

Learn Coronavirus Facts and Information

This list contains important links and phone numbers for Albany residents.

Virtual Programming

APL librarians have started posting virtual storytimes and activities for children, along with book recommendations and other short video programs for adults. Keep an eye out for these videos on the library’s YouTube channel (@AlbanyNYLibrary).

WiFi in Buildings and Parks

WiFi at the library branches and two city parks (near Lincoln Park pool and Washington Park playhouse and skate park) remain turned on, so you can access them if you are in close proximity to those locations.

Library Items and Library Cards

Get the Latest Updates on How the Closure is Impacting Library Services

The APL blog is updated regularly. The library’s social media channels (@AlbanyNYLibrary) on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram also post virtual content and updates.



Update: March 19 at 4:00 pm

The library’s Board of Trustees is holding a special virtual meeting on Tuesday, March 24, at 6:00 pm to discuss how the coronavirus closure is impacting library services and staff. 

Details of the meeting agenda and how to watch are in this blog post.

The public will be able to watch a livestream of the meeting as it is happening on YouTube, and watch a video of the proceedings after it is done.



Update: March 17 at 11:58 am

If you have questions for us during the closure, you can call any of these numbers and get answers.

(518) 217-5601

(518) 217-8554

(518) 217-8323

These numbers will be staffed Monday through Friday from 10 am until 6 pm.

Call us if you are:

+ Having issues with your library card

+ Need help with your account

+ Looking for tips on how to download eBooks

+ Want assistance using the databases

+ Have reference and reference questions



Update: March 16 at 10:55 am

Our staff is ready to answer your library, circulation, and reference questions during the closure.

Monday through Friday from 10 am until 6 pm, you can email:

We will also have three phone numbers you can call with questions. That process is being tested today. We’ll share the phone numbers with you as soon as they are ready to accept calls.

Here are the digital services you can access even while our buildings are closed:

+ WiFi at the library branches and three city parks (Lincoln Park pool, Washington Park playhouse and skate park, Bleecker-Swinburne Park stadium) remain turned on, so you can access them if you are in close proximity to the buildings.

+ Get digital materials — including eBooks, eMagazines, eAudiobooks, eVideos — through our website and corresponding apps for their personal devices. Look for the free Libby, OverDrive, and Flipster apps on your device app store.

+ Access educational and informative databases on our website.

About your library items and APL card:

+ Hold onto all of the library materials you already have. Enjoy them at home and bring them back when we reopen. During the closure, the book drops at our locations are locked and you will be unable to return items in them. There will be no late fines for any of these items.

+ Expiration dates for library cards are being extended. You need your library card number to access some digital services. 

If you have questions or trouble accessing online resources, please email us at:

This email is staffed Monday through Friday from 10 am until 6 pm.



Update: March 14 at 11:25 am

A message from APL Executive Director Scott C. Jarzombek:

“The decision to close was a difficult one that we didn’t make lightly. We understand that not having access to the library buildings and our many resources causes a hardship for people in Albany. But after weeks of tough conversations and planning by library leaders, administration, and trustees, we felt closing was in the best interest of our staff and the public. The library needs to do its part in helping slow the spread of coronavirus.” 

During the closure — March 14 through March 29 — APL patrons will be able to:

  • Get digital materials — including eBooks, eMagazines, eAudiobooks, eVideos — through our website and corresponding apps for their personal devices. Look for the Libby, OverDrive, and Flipster apps on your device app store; all of them are free. We are purchasing more eBooks and eAudiobooks that can be borrowed exclusively by APL cardholders.
  • Access educational and informative databases on our website
  • Get questions answered by staff via phone Monday through Friday from 10 am to 6 pm. The phone numbers will be published on Monday, March 16.
  • Submit questions to the email and get answers Monday through Friday from 10 am to 6 pm.
  • Keep their library materials at home without late fines. No need to return items during the building closure as our return drop boxes are also closed.
  • Don’t worry about their library cards expiring as we have extended the expiration dates. All APL cardholders will be able to continue to download digital material.



Update: March 13 at 5:45 pm

Albany Public Library  will be closed starting Saturday, March 14, through Sunday, March 29, due to the coronavirus outbreak. All seven APL branches plan to reopen on Monday, March 30.

The library is closing as called for in the Coronavirus Closure Plan approved by the APL Board of Trustees on March 10. That plan indicated that the library would close once the City School District of Albany closed, or upon direction from Albany County or New York State. The Albany school district announced its closure this afternoon.

APL is implementing the Coronavirus Continuation of Service Plan, starting March 14 and running through the end of the closure. This plan calls for:

All library locations will be fully cleaned during this closure.

During the closure, the library’s emergency response group will monitor the situation, consult with government and health officials, and communicate any updates via the APL website, email newsletters, and social media @AlbanyNYLibrary.



Update: March 13 at 10 am

The library is suspending the borrowing of museum passes until further notice.

As a reminder, these other service changes are also in effect:
+ Requests for material are limited to libraries in the Upper Hudson Library System (Albany and Rensselaer counties)
+ All returns must be done via the book drops
+ Public cannot use library phones
+ Patrons are asked to wash their hands before and after using library equipment
+ Toys have been removed from branches
+ All programs and meetings are canceled until further notice



Update: March 12 at 10:50 am

Due to this morning’s announcement of two confirmed cases of coronavirus in Albany County, the library is canceling all programs and outreach activities. We are also canceling public meetings scheduled in our branches and closing study rooms. These changes go into effect at 12 pm today (Thursday, March 12) and continue until further notice.

All other library services will continue. Reducing the space used by the public will allow us to concentrate on specific areas for cleaning.

Today’s action is a precautionary measure. We are as disappointed as you are to cancel programs and meetings at our branches. Our staff works hard to plan these programs and we know you enjoy participating in them.

Our staff is dedicated to serving the public. At this point in time, the library’s main concern is keeping our patrons and staff safe.

We will continue to provide coronavirus updates on our website, email, and social media channels.



Update: March 11

We will only implement the following plans if deemed necessary.

The COVID-19 Closure Plan and Continuation of Service Plan were devised by APL’s executive team based on the best available information about the virus, its spread, and prevention measures; consultation with local municipal and health officials; and outbreak prevention and containment best practices employed by large public institutions.

The coronavirus outbreak is a rapidly changing situation. Staff and the public will be informed regularly with updates on how the library is handling the situation and when any parts of the closure or continuation of service plan are implemented.

< Closure Plan >
The library’s executive team has determined the following Closure Plan is the best course of action in the event all branches must close due to the COVID-19 outbreak. This plan was approved unanimously by the APL Board of Trustees on March 10, 2020. All decisions will be made by the Executive Director with the guidance of the Executive Committee of the board.

Scenario A1 — Close Specific Branches
Individual branches may be closed based on staffing levels. Staff will be deployed to other branches.

Scenario A — Cancel Programs
All programs, meetings, and study rooms may be suspended if the outbreak worsens.

Scenario B — Close All Locations
This scenario will be enacted once the City School District of Albany closes, or upon direction from Albany County or New York State. Once the decision is made to close all library locations, it will be implemented immediately. The decision to reopen will be made by the library’s Executive Director in consultation with the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees.

< Continuation of Service Plan >
The Continuation of Service Plan will be put into place in the event the entire library district needs to close due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The library will continue to offer some services to patrons if closed for a period of time due to coronavirus.

Staffing to Implement Services During a Closure
Essential staff has been identified and will be in regular contact during the closure to ensure services are working as intended. This team will meet regularly and a determination will be made whether a longer closure is required.

We will remind the public that our online services will be available, even if the library is closed. In the event of a closure, book drops will be locked and patrons will be unable to return items. Late fees will be waived.

Resuming Regular Services
Regular library services will resume once the branches are reopened. The decision to reopen will be made by the Executive Director in consultation with the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees.



Update: March 9

We are constantly monitoring the current status of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the Capital Region. 

As of today, we are adding these measures to our protocols:

+ Only serve pre-packaged food

+ Toys removed from public spaces for cleaning

+ All surfaces wiped down with disinfectant before and after programs

+ Staff wash hands before/after all programs and desk shifts, and before/after using library equipment



Update: March 5

The outbreak of the COVID-19, the disease caused by the Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), raises many concerns for Albany Public Library. We see hundreds of people every day and feel responsible for their well being. Simultaneously we are concerned about our health and the health of our coworkers.

APL has more than 70,000 visitors each month across seven locations. More than 50,000 items cross our desks and more than 6,000 people attend programs every month. That translates into a lot of personal interactions by many, many people, every day we are open.

Libraries are also “second responders,” acting as resiliency centers during weather emergencies and filling gaps in services and resources, all while serving as a trusted source for factual information.

All of these interactions put the public, and our staff, in close contact all day long. As such, APL administration is keeping a close eye on recent developments regarding Coronavirus. We are exploring what we as an organization need to do so we can continue serving the public while keeping everyone healthy and safe.

Below are some guidelines for staff and patrons, as well as some resources for further information.

What We’re Doing at the Library
+ All returns must be done via the book drop. All material received in the book drop should be handled wearing gloves, and items should be wiped down with Lysol wipes.
+ Returned devices should also be wiped down upon return.
+ At the end of each desk shift, staff members should wipe down hard surfaces.
+ Staff members are directed to wash their hands at the end of a shift or when going on break.
+ Facilities staff have been directed to wipe down all hard surfaces on a regular basis, including surfaces in meeting and study rooms.
+ When possible, library cards will be scanned in the patron’s hands.
+ Members of the public and staff are encouraged to stay home if they are sick.
+ Limit physical touching.
+ Do not handle food or snacks for others.
+ Clean hard surfaces before and after programs.

What Can You Do as a Patron
+ If you have a fever and are sick, stay home.
+ If you are using our meeting room space, make sure that all those who attend are well.
+ Cough into a tissue or into the bend of your arm.
+ Wash your hands regularly after using public computers and borrowing material.
+ Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, or nose.
+ Spread the word, and remind friends and family that the library is a trusted source for accurate information.

As of March 5 at 2 pm, there were 22 confirmed cases of Coronavirus in New York State, none of which are in the Albany area.

We will be following the state, city, and school district’s lead. If this means canceling programs, limiting hours, or closing, we are prepared to do that. These decisions are all made at a board and administrative level, and we are having ongoing discussions about it.

The library has formed a committee to create a “continuation of service plan” that will allow us to maintain some library service even if our buildings are closed. We will work diligently to have that plan ready in the next week.

World Health Organization
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
New York State Health Department
Albany County Department of Health
US National Library of Medicine
Medline Plus
NPR Article: What Kids Want To Know About Coronavirus
New York State Novel Coronavirus Hotline: (888) 364-3065

For the Latest Information about APL and Coronavirus
Please check back here for updates, or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram @AlbanyNYLibrary

Stephanie Simon

Stephanie Simon is APL's public information officer, and manages the library's communications, public relations, and marketing efforts. No, she isn't a librarian, but feels as if she's among her people here at the library.