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Updated: An Important Note to Our Community

Our space at 15 Lafayette Avenue in Brooklyn is temporarily closed. Please email if you have any questions.

You can order books for shipping by visiting, calling 212-755-6710, or emailing We are no longer offering curbside pickup.

The 2020 NYC Emerging Writer Fellows will be announced in mid- to late July. We thank you in advance for your patience.

Monday 3/16

Dear Members and Friends of the Center,

Given the escalation in the number of COVID-19 cases in New York City in just the past few days, we have made the difficult decision to close and reopen on April 6th. If this timeline changes, we will let you know. We had hoped to be a haven for our community to enjoy while maintaining social distance and made changes to enable that, and we very much regret that we are no longer able to provide that space for you.

Today (3/16), the bookstore and library will remain open to members of the Center and of our bookstore loyalty program only so that you can purchase or check out books for the weeks ahead. Please knock on the 15 Lafayette Avenue door between the hours of 11:00am and 5:00pm. If you prefer to purchase ahead and have books ready for pick-up during these hours, please call us at (212) 755-6710 or email If you would prefer to have your library books waiting at the front door rather than coming in and browsing, please contact

Thanks so much for your understanding. We very much hope to see you all again on April 6th!

With best regards,
Noreen Tomassi, Executive Director

Friday 3/13

Dear Members and Friends of the Center,

Like our many sister cultural institutions in New York City, we have been carefully monitoring reports on the COVID-19 virus and its impact on our fellow New Yorkers. This is a difficult time for everyone and we want you to know that nothing matters more to us than the safety of our members, friends, and audiences.

Now more than ever books feel to many of us like an essential part of staying connected to one another and we very much want you to be able to visit the bookstore, check out library books, and use the space. With that in mind, along with instituting a work-from-home policy for administrative staff, we are making sure that all staff still at work in the building follow guidelines set forth by the CDC, NYS Department of Health, and NYC Department of Health so that you feel safe and protected here.

We ask that if you are feeling ill you stay at home. There are many wonderful essays, stories, videos, and podcasts available on this site for you to enjoy. If you are well and would like to visit, please wash your hands often and practice social distancing whenever you can in our spaces. We have posted flyers about handwashing in all bathrooms, and we are making sure that soap dispensers are full at all times. Throughout the day our front-of-house staff is frequently wiping down tables, chairs, and counter spaces in public areas with disinfectant. We have disinfectant wipes available in the café for patrons who wish to wipe down tables where they are seated.

For the foreseeable future, because we are operating with limited staff, we have reduced our hours. Our bookstore, cafe, and members’ area, including the library, will be open as follows:

Sunday and Monday: 10:30AM to 6PM
Tuesday through Saturday: 10:30AM to 8PM

We have also canceled all public events and KidsRead programming through April 1st. Please consult this site for updates beyond that date. If you have already purchased tickets, please email us at for a full credit or refund.

In addition, we have postponed all our reading groups and writing workshops until mid-April at the earliest.

For all you book lovers who are staying at home, we want you to know that you can order books from our bookstore online at This is going to be a very tough time for all small businesses and our bookstore is no exception, so we would appreciate your support.

As you all know, the situation in New York City is in flux. With all these changes in place, we are hoping The Center will be able to remain open. We promise to be in touch if that changes.

Much thanks to all of you for your understanding in these strange times. We wish you all good health and good reading and look forward to seeing you again soon!

With warm regards,
Noreen Tomassi, Executive Director