Update on COVID-19


Dear Friends in the Brookline Community:

It is with heavy heart that I report that the Public Library of Brookline will remain shuttered until at least June 29, in keeping with the closure of the Brookline Public Schools and all schools in the Commonwealth. We miss you all very much, and know that you miss us, too. Keep an eye on social media for a glimpse of some of our faces smiling out at you.

As the COVID-19 epidemic in Massachusetts begins to subside, we will begin to prepare in earnest to reopen as soon as we can and welcome you back.

Don’t forget we are offering lots and lots of wonderful services online!

With fondest regards,
Sara Slymon
Library Director


View 3/25/2020 letter in Chinese | View 3/25/2020 letter in Russian

Dear Patrons,

Due to the Governors’ announcement this afternoon, the Library will remain closed through May 4. We understand that this is an inconvenience in the short term, but know that it will protect our public and our staff during this difficult time.

I want to take a moment to thank you all for your patience during this unprecedented public health emergency. I am pleased to announce that, effective tomorrow, the entire Library staff will be beyond the window whereby they could have been infected with COVID-19 while interacting with the public at work. No one has become ill, and for that we are grateful.

While the staff have been at home, they have been working hard to boot up remote services. Tomorrow, March 26, at 10 am, we will begin offering remote reference, virtual storytimes, etc. The schedule is Monday through Saturday, from 10 am – 6 pm. We hope that these services will help combat isolation and return some familiar faces to your families. There will be no staff on site, per the Governor’s order.  This will mean that the staff will not have access to some of our resources, like microfilm, the closed stacks, or various reference materials. They will work through our online reference databases and will provide you the best answers they can. Our online resources will continue to be available 24/7, and can be found here.

Email and chat reference will address ONLY library reference questions; the Town asks that you please call the Emergency Operations Center for any COVID-19 related questions, as well as for any general municipal government questions: 

The call center will be staffed Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The number for the call center is 617-879-5636.”

You can find more Town of Brookline COVID-19 information here.

Other activities that Library staff are participating in while we are closed include making N95 masks on our 3D printers (which they took home on Monday) and sewing cotton masks on the Library sewing machines. A good portion of the staff have also volunteered to work at the Emergency Operations Center answering calls and helping the Task Force and first responders keep the Town running. 

I would like to remind everyone that the Library book drops are CLOSED.  Please do not leave any library materials or donations outside the Library. Thus far, this has only been a problem at the Coolidge Corner Library, so, if you live in that neighborhood or know someone who does, please help us spread the word. While we are closed, all materials will be automatically renewed, check out periods have been extended to one month, and all expiring library cards will be automatically renewed. 

We are not currently able to submit our weekly column to the Brookline TAB, but we are working on it and hope to have one a week from tomorrow.

If you haven’t already done so, please sign up for our newsletter here.

Please remember that this is a limited public service, we will not be able to book rooms, place holds, or some other regular services.

From our Library family to your family:  We miss you. We will be back as soon as we can. 


Sara F. Slymon
Library Director


Dear Patrons,

All locations of the Public Library of Brookline are closed until at least April 6. We are following the guidelines of the CDC, Public Health, and the lead of the Brookline Public Schools.

All library materials will be renewed and no fines will be accrued during this health emergency.

PLEASE DO NOT LEAVE LIBRARY MATERIALS OUTSIDE THE LIBRARY.  There is no staff onsite to bring them in.

We apologize for the continued inconvenience, and hope you are staying well.

Thank you!

Sara Slymon
Library Director


View 3/16/2020 letter in Russian | View 3/16/2020 letter in Spanish 

Dear Patrons:

Thank you so much for your patience and cooperation during this unprecedented situation. Out of an abundance of caution, we have locked the book drops at all three locations. There will be no fines or fees during the period when the libraries are closed. Auto-renewals will continue, and all due dates have been extended to a month.

We ask that you please not leave returns or donations outside the library. There is no staff onsite bringing things inside, and materials could be stolen or damaged if they remain outside for several weeks.


For more information about the library during the public health emergency, please use these links:


For Town updates:


Please use our online resources as you await the re-opening of the library. Many of our vendors have lifted the monthly borrowing limit and extended due dates:


To obtain a library card instantly:


Stay safe, and keep reading!


Sara Slymon
Library Director


View 3/12/2020 letter in Chinese | View 3/12/2020 letter in RussianView 3/12/2020 letter in Spanish

Dear Library Patrons:

The Board of Library Trustees have made the difficult, but necessary, decision to follow the lead of the Brookline Public Schools and close all Library locations through at least March 27. All decisions to close public libraries are made in consultation with public health professionals, Town administration, and Library leadership. We understand, and deeply regret, the inconvenience this will cause our loyal patrons.

We have extended our loan periods on all items to 4 weeks. All fines accrued during this health emergency will be waived.

We thank you for your cooperation and understanding as we face this health emergency together.


Sara Slymon, Library Director, on behalf of a unanimous Board of Library Trustees.


View 3/11/2020 letter in Chinese | View 3/11/2020 letter in Russian | View 3/11/2020 letter in Spanish

Dear Patrons,

The current health emergency is causing anxiety across our community.  The Town and the Library are sensitive to that, and want to apprise you of the steps we are taking to address the situation.

The Public Library of Brookline is working closely with the Brookline Office of Public Health and other Town Departments to monitor the latest information and guidelines provided by the by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) related to the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).

The Library’s highest priority is the health and well-being of library users, staff and volunteers. To help ensure that our library is safe and welcoming to all, we have implemented a strategy that prioritizes prevention. At present, there is no change in our hours, however, we are taking the following precautions:

  • In response to the Governor’s State of Emergency declaration and recommendation that non-essential gatherings be canceled, we are canceling all library programs through April 30, 2020. 
  • We are also closing our public meeting rooms to outside use through April 30, 2020 and will be in touch with any group scheduled to use these spaces.
  • You will find hand sanitizer at all public service desks.  Our restrooms have plenty of hot water and soap for washing hands.
  • We are doubling down on our cleaning of high-touch areas, such as door handles, stair railings, public computers, and other surfaces.
  • There is COVID-19 information posted throughout the library building.
  • Out of an abundance of caution, we are removing toys, puzzles, Chromebooks, Launchpads, and games from our public areas. We will re-introduce these popular items as soon as we feel it is safe to do so.

Things are changing quickly and the library will continue to work closely with the Brookline Office of Public Health and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health to determine if other actions are warranted. Please check the library website and social media for frequent updates. 

Remember – here are a few things you can do to help take care of your health and help protect others:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water (20 seconds of scrubbing) or use alcohol-based hand cleaners (cover all surfaces and rub until dry).
  • Cough/sneeze into a tissue. Dispose of used tissues immediately into a trash can. If you don’t have a tissue, cough/sneeze into the crook of your elbow, not your hands.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, which accelerates the spread of infections.
  • If you’re not feeling well, please stay home.
  • Visit https://www.brooklinema.gov/covid-19 for the latest Town updates and information on COVID-19.

It is important to remember that COVID-19 isn’t connected to race, ethnicity or nationality. Stigma will not help fight the illness. Sharing accurate information from trusted sources is critical to reduce misinformation. Find reliable and current information about the outbreak from local, state, and national agencies below.

Town Administrator Mel Kleckner has issued a statement to the residents of Brookline, please read that here.

Please sign up here for Alert Brookline to receive push notifications from the Town. 

We thank you for your continued support and for helping keep Brookline safe and welcoming.

Stay Healthy!

Sara Slymon
Library Director

Trusted Health Resources

Enjoy Your Library from the Comfort of Your Home

This letter was updated 3/16/2020 to remove the link to Public Library of Brookline’s Ask a Librarian service. This service is unavailable while the libraries remain closed.