News & Politics

These DC Bookstores and Libraries Have Reopened for In-Person Browsing

DC book lovers, rejoice!

Another view of the original Bick's Books interior. Image courtesy of Jenni Bick.

It’s not just restaurants and nightclubs that are back. You can once again spend afternoons leisurely browsing library and bookstore shelves. In-person author events, though, remain suspended at most places. Here’s what is going on at local libraries and bookstores: 

DC Public Library

All Branches

By July 19, all 26 DCPA branches in the city will be open and visitors will be allowed back indoors for browsing, sitting at tables and lounge areas, and using computers (for up to 70 minutes).  The libraries that are already open are operating at 100 percent capacity, but masks are still required indoors for both staff and visitors—even those who are vaccinated. Starting July 17, meeting rooms will be available for public use. Look for indoor and outdoor events, announced in the coming weeks, on the DCPA website.  Libraries are open to visitors Monday through Friday from 10 AM-6 PM, Thursday from noon-8 PM, and Friday and Saturday from 10 AM-6 PM.

Montgomery County Public Library 

All Branches

The county started reopening its 21 branches in phases—six libraries opened to the public on June 1, eight more branches are set to reopen on June 14, and the rest will reopen on July 6. Reopened branches will no longer require appointments or social distancing. Masks are not required, although they are recommended for those who are not vaccinated. Events remain virtual until the fall.

Arlington County Public Library 

All Branches

Most of the county’s nine branches are expanding in-person services and access to library collections over the summer, but there is still no set date for an official full reopening. Hours at each location remain limited, and no in-person events are planned.

Fairfax Public Library 

All Branches

All 23 branches resumed normal services and introduced new hours on June 5: community branch locations are open Monday and Tuesday from 10 AM to 9 PM and Wednesday and Saturday from 10 AM to 6 PM while regional branch locations are open Monday to Wednesday from 10 AM to 9 PM and Thursday to Sunday from 10 AM to 6 PM. There are no longer any time or occupancy restrictions, and meeting rooms are available for public use. Masks indoors are not required for vaccinated adults, but children under 12 are still required wear them. In-person indoor and outdoor events are being planned and when finalized, will be posted here.

Library of Congress

101 Independence Ave., SE 

At the beginning of this month, the Library opened additional reading rooms for in-person research—access is by appointment only from Monday to Friday, 9:30 AM to 12:30 PM and 1 PM-4 PM. None of the buildings are open to the general public yet, but stay tuned for an announcement soon about visiting the Thomas Jefferson building. Events this month are still limited to Zoom, Facebook, and YouTube.

Politics and Prose

Locations in Upper Northwest, the Wharf, and Union Market

All locations are open for in-person browsing, although masks are still required. Occupancy limits—once set to 40  people—have increased to 60 people, and will lift entirely on July 2. Owner Brad Graham says to look for in-person events to resume in the fall.   

Lost City Books

2467 18th St., NW

This Adams Morgan bookstore ditched its capacity limit last week, but still requires masks indoors. Store hours recently expanded from 11 AM to 9 PM on any day during the week. Owner Adam Wattereus says he hasn’t decided when in-person events will return. 

Solid State Books

600 H St., NE

This shop on the H Street Corridor recently opened its doors to half capacity or 50 people at any given time. Masks are required, even those who are vaccinated. Hours were recently extended—the store is open daily from 10 AM to 7 PM. Although there are no indoor events planned, co-owner Scott Abdel says the bookstore will be doing a few outdoor events, like a walking tour, later this month.