In March 2020 public libraries across Australia were closed as part of the national attempt to slow transmission of COVID-19, which meant that some 1,600 public library service points across the country in urban, regional and remote locations, closed their door and could no longer able to offer face-to-face services.
A team of researchers from Charles Sturt University including Dr Jane Garner, Dr Simon Wakeling, Professor Philip Hider, Associate Professor Hamid Jamali, Associate Professor Mary Anne Kennan, Dr Jessie Lymn, Dr Yazdan Mansourian and Dr Holly Randell-Moon explored the responses of public libraries across Australia to this crisis through a national survey of public library managers and case studies of library networks. The research has produced a report with recommendations and a journal article published in JALIA (Journal of the Australia Library and Information Association).
Findings from the research will assist public libraries in understanding their own roles and performance in a community crisis and will enable them to better prepare for and react to future crises so that community needs are met efficiently and effectively. In addition, the research aimed to identify possible trends in future service and resource provision resulting from measures put in place during the COVID-19 crisis.