Case study: Salisbury Library Service

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Salisbury Library Service started providing its community with a ‘Click and Collect’ service to pick up physical collection materials on hold. For those who were self-isolating and could not visit the library, they also offered a free ‘Library to your Door’ delivery service.



As Salisbury Library Service implemented changes to its day to day operation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, library customers were enquiring about their existing holds, especially when the library buildings were closed to the public. The library realised that their customers could quickly adapt and be flexible about alternative service options. They were aware that a number of library services were implementing ‘Click and Collect’ services and wanted to offer this to the community.

They decided to proceed in setting up these services to allow their community to keep accessing physical collections, whether it be for educating their children through home schooling, for study, work or purely for entertainment purposes. This was especially important for the most disadvantaged people in the community, who were socially isolated at the time.



These services were implemented by first deciding on how the service would operate and conducting the risk assessment. Staff then worked with the Marketing and Communications team to develop the collateral to advertise the service. 

For both services, customers could select items online or call and have the library staff select for them. Although a global change to extend due dates was applied, the library also provided a pick-up service for customers to return items.

For existing Home Library customers, including residential villages and nursing homes they doubled the frequency of deliveries and number of items. As they are one of the larger library services in metropolitan Adelaide, they have a large collection to select from.

Staff delivering ‘Click and Collect’ were integral to refining how the service operates and they tweaked several aspects to ensure that they operated safely and efficiently. One staff suggestion that was implemented was to develop activity packs for children and adults that included puzzles, quizzes and further information on library services such as Digital Library.



The most obvious risk was that staff or community would contract COVID-19 through face to face contact or after handling items from the collection. A risk assessment was conducted by the Manager of Environmental Health and Safety, who was the chair of the COVID-19 work group and the Team Leader Safety and Wellbeing. This assessment documented the controls and treatments in line with current Federal and State Health advice. These controls included:

·       Contactless service in that customers communicate with staff by phone on arrival and items are placed in the vehicle to maintain social distancing requirements.

·       Staff wearing gloves when handling items.

·       Staff washing hands and using hand sanitiser as required.

·       Increased hygiene cleaning of all workspaces.

·       All returned items sanitized and quarantined for a period of 7 days, as per the advice from various sources including information provided via ALIA: How safe are library books and devices?

·       A ‘With compliments’ slip added to the items, providing information on alternative delivery options and advice for customers with the following information: Please wash hands thoroughly before and after handling library books, exercise good personal hygiene, and avoid touching face whilst reading books.



Response from the community was positive, with the library receiving thank you messages and gifts. A substantial number of telephone and email enquiries were received about the alternative service options, including those seeking to renew their memberships or join the library as new customers. The uptake of the alternative service delivery options has highlighted how important library services are to the wellbeing of their community.