Current state of libraries

City of Salisbury SA Case study

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.
(Read more)

The Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) is seeking information from libraries in regards to how libraries have adjusted to COVID-19 restrictions and how they plan to reopen. 

Documents can be emailed to us at There is no deadline for submissions. Resources will be added below as they are made available.

On 19 March, the Council of Australian University Librarians (CAUL) released this statement 'ANZ university librarians respond to COVID-19'. 


Libraries identified in National Cabinet's COVID-19 plan

On 8 May, Prime Minister Scott Morrison made a statement regarding services which could start to re-open under a three step plan. In this statement he mentioned libraries, alongside community centres and playgrounds, as services that may be reopened as part of Step 1.

You can read ALIA's news release Libraries identified in National Cabinet's COVID-19 plan and how state and territory government are responding. 

  • Australian Capital Territory: As of 2 June, all branches of Libraries ACT, including the ACT Heritage Library, were reopened, and operating regular hours with a one person per 4 sqm rule in place. Reservations can be collected from these branches. Visits to be under 30 minutes, and no sitting down unless they have pre-booked one of the 30-minute computers.
  • New South Wales: Public libraries will reopen from 1 June 2020. Total number of staff, volunteers and visitors should not exceed 1 person per 4sqm. 24 hour quarantining of returned collection material. 
  • Northern Territory Government roadmap: All public libraries reopened as of 21 May. No groups of more than 10 people allowed, 1.5m physical distancing is still required. Limit of two hours. 
  • Queensland: Libraries started reopening on 15 May. Only 10 people allowed inside at one time, also ensuring social distancing and hygiene measures - as such, many are limiting service to 'Click and Connect' to manage numbers. 
  • South Australia: Libraries started reopening on 11 May, max 10 patrons, but must have no more than 1 person per 4 sqm on site, including staff. Observe social distancing of 1.5m. No food or beverages. 
  • Tasmania: From 18 May, Launceston Library started trialling a click and collect service. A staged process is planned for wider reopening, but for now, libraries remain closed for general browsing and visiting.
  • Victoria: From 11:59pm on 31 May libraries will be permitted to open, with no more than 20 people allowed in each separate space at any one time, provided the four square metre rule is adhered to. Facilities are required to record the names of visitors who stay at the library for at least 15 minutes. 
  • Western Australia: Public libraries reopened from 18 May, maximum 20 patrons, but must have no more than 1 patron per 4sqm. Visitors should be recorded for contact tracing purposes if needed.


National and state libraries

  • National Library of Australia

The library has increased the areas where patrons can visit

  • State Library of New South Wales

Reading rooms are open at the State Library of NSW with limited services

Reopening 1 June 2020.

  • Northern Territory Library
  • State Library of Queensland

Select spaces are open at the State Library of Queensland

  • State Library of South Australia

Reopening on 9 June 2020. To begin with, the library will open from 10am to 4pm Monday to Saturday. 

The State Library of South Australia has reopened with restrictions

  • State Library Victoria

Reopening 1 June 2020. 

Library patrons can book visits to the library. 

  • Tasmania

18 May, began a staged approach to reopening.

  • State Library of Western Australia

Reopened 18 May 2020.

The library has reopened with restrictions in place.

This page is accurate as of 24 June and will be updated as needed.