Three Long Beach library branches that have been long shuttered amid a severe staffing shortage finally have reopening dates.

The Alamitos Neighborhood Library reopened on Feb. 21, while the Dana and Brewitt branches are set to welcome patrons again on March 7.

Throughout the closure, residents have been pleading with the city to restore full service to the branches, which have been closed for in-person services for seven months, Long Beach Public Library Director Cathy De Leon told the Long Beach Post.

“…we were still getting complaints and (the) public was urging us to restore full service, so we were happy to finally have figured out a date to restore full service,” she said in an email.

Although the library system is still working to onboard and hire librarians, De Leon said the city has been able to hire substitute librarians and reshuffle classified staff around to expedite the reopening of the three branches.

“In terms of staffing, we have been able to fill some substitute general librarian positions, about 6 I believe, so that’s allowed us to backfill some service points and shift classified staff around to provide better coverage at branches,” De Leon said in an email.

De Leon said the library is wrapping up hiring for senior librarians soon and that recruitment for full-time and classified general librarians is expected to begin sometime in March. Branches cannot operate without senior librarians, who supervise operations and staff, and general librarians who provide specialized library services, according to De Leon.

The three libraries that have been closed since the summer were previously expected to reopen either at the start of the year or after the city hired enough staff to operate them. In the meantime, they remained open for to-go services, allowing patrons to pick up items from staff who could hand items off at the door.

The three branches were chosen for temporary closures because of their proximities to other branch locations, the Post previously reported. Library funding, though, was not reduced, according to officials.

In response to community complaints from those who regularly visited the neighborhood branches, the Dana Neighborhood Library in Bixby Knolls reopened on Feb. 4 to let patrons back inside for one day a week.

“We have received complaints from patrons who usually use all three locations,” De Leon told the Post in late January.

The Alamitos Neighborhood Library, 1836 E. Third St., is now open Tuesday and Thursday from noon to 7 p.m.; Wednesday from noon to 6 p.m.; and Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Brewitt Neighborhood Library, 4036 E. Anaheim St., and the Dana Neighborhood Library, 3680 Atlantic Ave., will reopen five days per week starting March 7 and will follow the same schedule.

Kat Schuster is the assistant editor at the Long Beach Post. You can reach her at [email protected].