Archives and Libraries: Summer Reopenings

Friday, July 9, 2021 - 1:00pm
Author: 
NYG&B Summer Interns

Jake Garfinkle, Avery Ward, and Sara Weller all contributed writing and research to this article. 

We're happy to report that throughout New York State, archives, libraries, and other repositories are beginning to open back up for in-person research. 

Because rules and dates vary per institution, we decided to compile a list of some New York State facilities that researchers may be interested in visiting.

Please note the information in this article is current as of that date published, but details are bound to change.

We will update this article periodically, but urge anyone planning a trip to any facility to click the link in this article and make sure to double-check with the institution for the most up-to-date information. 

Do you know of an archive, library or other facility we should add to the list? Let us know and we'll make an update!

Onondaga County Public Library

The Onondaga County Public Library (OCPL) is officially open for the summer, at full capacity and free of all COVID-19 restrictions. Located on the third floor of the library, the Onondaga Local History and Genealogy Research Department is also fully accessible to the public.  

The library is home to a wide collection of research materials specializing in the history of Syracuse, Onondaga County, New York State, the New England States, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. However, given the fragile and valuable nature of the Local History and Genealogy collection, just as in normal non-COVID times, materials must be requested for use at the department’s front desk and are retrieved solely by members of the Local History and Genealogy staff and cannot be removed from the department’s research room.  

The Onondaga County Public Library and research rooms are open Monday through Friday, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. The library is located at 447 South Saline St. In Syracuse. For further information or any questions, the OCPL Local History and Genealogy Department can be reached by phone at 315-435-1900, or by email at lhg@onlib.org

Visit the Onondaga County Public Library website for details.

Buffalo and Erie County Public Library

All branches now open to the public, and a handful of branches still offer curbside or walk-up services as well.

The Grosvenor Room, dedicated to genealogy, is located on the first floor of the Central Library in Buffalo. No appointment is required, but face coverings and social distancing are. Librarians are available in the Grosvenor Room to assist and answer questions, but cannot provide in-depth research for patrons. Research services are available for a fee.

Walk-up and curbside are still offered at the Central Library, but keep in mind most materials in The Grosvenor Room do not circulate, so curbside/walk-up will not be available for these materials. 

The Central Library is open to the public Monday through Thursday from 8:00 am to 7:00 pm, and from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm on Friday and Saturday (closed Sunday). The same hours apply to The Grosvenor Room.

Visit the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library website for details.

Buffalo History Museum

The museum is open to the public Wednesday through Saturday from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. Masks are required for unvaccinated guests. Walk-ins are welcome, but advanced registration is available online.

Due to ongoing restoration projects at the Museum, make sure to call ahead to confirm Museum is open before visiting. If open, parts of the Museum might still be closed.

The Research Library is open by appointment only. Research appointments (in person or Zoom) can be scheduled on the Buffalo History Museum website. In-person appointments are 2 hours long, and social distancing is required (3 researchers are allowed in the library at a time).

Zoom video appointments are 45 minutes; time can be used to discuss research needs, view and review records pulled by staff, and determine research next steps. 

Visit the Buffalo History Museum website for details and scheduling. 

New-York Historical Society

The New-York Historical Society is currently fully open, barring one exhibit. The NYHS is located at 170 Central Park West, New York, NY, and the current operating hours are: Fridays, 10:00 am through 8:00 pm; and Saturdays and Sundays, 11:00 am through 5:00 pm. Special Member access is offered Fridays, 10:00 am through 11:00 am; seniors and immunocompromised visitors are also welcomed during that hour. 

Mask-wearing and social distancing are required and enforced. Advance and timed-entry admissions for visitors are required, so be sure to book your reserved visit in advance on their website. 

The Patricia D. Klingenstein Library at the NYHS is open to the public as well. Appointments are required and must be scheduled 3 days in advance. The library is open Wednesday through Friday, 10:00 am – 4:30 pm. To schedule an appointment, please email staff at libraryappts@nyhistory.org. Masks and social distancing are required.  

Visit the New-York Historical Society website for details.

New York Public Library

Beginning July 6, while appointments will still be required for most collections use, service will be expanded at select locations to permit walk-in visitors who want to sit in public reading rooms, including the Rose Main Reading Room at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, for quiet study, thought, and computer use. All remote services, such as Scan & Deliver, will continue to be available. 

The Stephen A. Schwarzman Building houses the library’s genealogical collections in the Irma and Paul Milstein Division of United States History, Local History and Genealogy. The Schwarzman Building is located on Fifth Avenue & 42nd Street, entrance only at 42nd Street. Masks are still required. It is open Monday through Saturday, 10:00 am through 6:00 pm.

Visit the New York Public Library website for details or to book an appointment. 

New York City Municipal Archives (MUNI)

The Municipal Library and Archives research rooms at the New York City Department of Records & Information Services (DORIS) will re-open to the public on July 12, by appointment only.  

The research rooms will be open Monday through Friday, 9:00 am to 4:00 pm, and will be closed from 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm. There are eight appointments per session due to air circulation limitations. Masks and health screenings are required upon entry to the facility, located at 31 Chambers Street in Manhattan.  

To schedule an appointment for family history research, email familyhistory@records.nyc.gov. To schedule an appointment for library and archives research, email research@records.nyc.gov.  

Visit the New York City Municipal Archives website for details. 

New York State Archives

The New York State Archives, located on the eleventh floor of the Cultural Education Center at 222 Madison Avenue in Albany, is open to the public. 

The New York State Archives is open Monday through Friday, 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. However, certain COVID-19 restrictions are in place: Visitors must make an appointment and book a table in the research room days in advance, face masks are required at all times, and social distancing is enforced. Furthermore, records are only retrieved twice a day, at 10:30 am and 2:00 pm, so it is recommended that visitors identify the records they will be using and complete a Records Request form prior to their visit.  

To book an appointment at the New York State Archives, call 518-474-8955 or email ARCHREF@nysed.gov. The Records Request form can be found here and should also be sent to ARCHREF@nysed.gov.  

Visit the New York State Archives website for details.

New York State Library - Research Library

The NYSL Research Library is currently open Monday through Friday, from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. No appointment is needed.

All visitors who are vaccinated do not need to wear a mask or maintain social distancing. Anyone not vaccinated must wear a mask and maintain social distancing of six feet. If you are not vaccinated and cannot wear a face covering for medical reasons, you should contact the NYS Library for information about accommodations. 

Visit the New York State Library website for details.

New York State Library - Special Collections

The NYSL Special Collections are currently open Monday through Friday, from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. Visitors must make an appointment in advance. To do so, contact the Manuscripts and Special Collections Unit to schedule a visit to the 11th Floor at mscref@nysed.gov or (518) 474-6282. 

All visitors who are vaccinated do not need to wear a mask or maintain social distancing. Anyone not vaccinated must wear a mask and maintain social distancing of six feet. If you are not vaccinated and cannot wear a face covering for medical reasons, you should contact the NYS Library for information about accommodations. 

Visit the New York State Library website for details.