The New York Public Library's beloved lions, Patience and Fortitude, were given their very own masks in the summer of 2020. (photo by Jonathan Blanc; courtesy of NYPL)

Last week, New York City Test and Trace Corps — a public health initiative run by doctors, public health professionals, and community advocates — began distributing free at-home COVID-19 tests at museums and libraries across New York City. Participating sites include the Brooklyn Museum, El Museo del Barrio, and the Staten Island Zoo, as well as a handful of branches of the Brooklyn Public Library, New York Public Library, and Queens Public Library.

Each week, at-home tests will be dropped off by the Test and Trace Corps at distribution spots, and they are free for pickup, one per person, until supplies last. In all, the tests are available at 14 cultural sites and 27 branches of the public library across the five boroughs. Hours, pickup locations, and test availability will be updated on a dedicated website.

“Throughout the pandemic, New York City’s libraries — trusted public institutions in all five boroughs — have strongly supported the City’s ongoing work to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, connecting New Yorkers with the resources they need to keep themselves and their communities healthy and safe,” the New York, Brooklyn, and Queens Public Libraries said in a statement.

“Ensuring at-home tests are readily available is an important part of this fight, and we are pleased to support these efforts,” they added. “We hope to see New Yorkers at our branches to pick up a test… and a book.”

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Jasmine Liu

Jasmine Liu is a staff writer for Hyperallergic. Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, she studied anthropology and mathematics at Stanford University. Find her on