Resources for libraries


Resources for reopening libraries

Libraries are planning the task of reopening, with state, territory and local governments easing restrictions in the coming weeks. ALIA has created a strategic checklist which includes information on staff support, services that need to be phased in (or out), communications planning, and safety precautions. Every library will need to carry out its own risk assessment and establish operational guidelines, for example, about how to manage face-to-face inquiries when sharing a computer screen would breach the social distancing requirements.

22 July 2020, the Australian Academy of Science has released a video on the right way to wear a mask

7 July 2020, CILIP, based in the UK, has published the statement Advisory note: 'Contact tracing' for librarians and information professionals.

June 2020, The National COVID-19 Coordination Commission have also prepared the following tool to help businesses develop a plan to keep their workers, customers and the community safe: Planning tool to help businesses reopen and be COVIDsafe.

21 May 2020, ALIA has created a Guidance on record keeping for contact tracing during COVID-19, in response to member concerns around privacy and directives to collect personal information from library visitors.

21 August 2020, ALIA has created a template to support public libraries in reporting to their stakeholders on how their library has supported their community (Word file, 77KB)

CampaiGn toolkit: 'We're back. Tell us how you missed us.'

ALIA has launched the 'We're back. Tell us how you missed us campaign'. The campaign includes free downloadable and editable materials, and a survey where library patrons can provide their feedback on what they missed most when their local library was closed. There are two toolkits: one for public libraries, which also links to a public survey, and one for other librariesPublic library staff can also encourage their patrons to complete the Your library: tell us how you missed us survey, which closes on 30 June 2020.

We have prepared the following guidelines, with instructions on how you can use the resources (linked below) to engage your library users with the campaign, both within the library space, and through your online communications: How to run the campaign (Word file, 300KB)

quarantining and sanitising LIBRARY BOOKS AND DEVICES

Library books carry similar risks to any other surface which comes into contact with the COVID-19 virus. 

The Institute of Museum and Library Services has published the article 'Research shows virus undetectable on five highly circulated library materials after three days'. 

Library users should be encouraged to follow good hygiene practices, especially thorough hand-washing, when handling books or any shared objects in the library. Library staff should be sanitising surfaces such as table tops, handles and PC keyboards regularly.

Virtual Reality (VR) headsets have also been flagged as a risk. Libraries may wish to postpone this service for the time being.

The Northeast Document Center, US, has published the following article Disinfecting circulating books

American Libraries has published the article How to sanitize collections in a pandemic

More recently, the Library Journal has published the article IMLS, CDC: On Staff Safety, Handling Paper In COVID-19 Pandemic. This article indicates that paper is a low concern, with the recommendation that books be quarantined for 24 hours. Materials that are in a plastic case or covering should be wiped down with alcohol wipes, or with alcohol-based cleaners. Alternately, these materials can also be quarantined for 72 hours. 

Previous information on this topic can be seen below:

US researchers from a number of specialist centres in American universities found that the Covid-19 virus can survive for up to 24 hours on cardboard: "We found that viable virus could be detected in aerosols up to 3 hours post aerosolization, up to 4 hours on copper, up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to 2-3 days on plastic and stainless steel." Another study recently published in the Journal of Hospital Infection (March 2020) has also found that various coronaviruses linked to COVID-19 can persist on surfaces, including paper, metal and glass, for 4-5 days, and can remain infectious on inanimate surfaces for up to 9 days.


During a time where many people are now working from home, and organisations are delivering online services and events, online security and safety consideration continues to be an important factor in library and information work.

One such risk is the growing occurrence of nuisance activity on video teleconferencing platforms, often referred to as “zoombombing”, as the main platform affected is Zoom. Schools and public libraries who are using these platforms to stream online events and classrooms to groups should be aware of the risks, especially as there have been incidences of strangers broadcasting offensive material through these channels. The following articles outline the issue, and provide strategies for preventing this online behaviour.

ALIA uses GoToMeeting and GoToWebinar as its videoconferencing platform, which has the same controls as Zoom to safeguard its meetings.

There are also other privacy and online security issues that professionals working from home should consider, especially when managing and communicating confidential information related to business activity. Here is a useful overview with some important considerations:



ALIA is working with the IFLA Library Services to Multicultural Populations Section to develop translated signage and text to support libraries communicating with their linguistically diverse communities, particularly in relation to library closures and accessing online information. These resources are available to download below as a word file. Libraries are welcome to adapt and use this content as best meets their needs to communicate with their community. Translations will be made available in more languages as they are developed.

Albanian Dutch Italian Spanish
Amharic (Ethiopian) Farsi (Dari) Japanese Tagalog
Arabic Farsi (Persian) Korean


Bulgarian French Latvian


Bengali (Bangladesh) German Nepali Urdu


Polish Vietnamese
Chinese (simplified) Hebrew Portuguese  
Chinese (traditional) Hindi Romanian  
Croatian Indonesian Serbian  

The following resources may also be useful for developing multilingual communications:


download the free libraries responding to covid-19 resources 

Reopening libraries checklist COVID-19 and Australian public libraries: Interim report 30 April

Responding to COVID-19 A4 letterhead

Responding to COVID-19 FB event banner
Responding to COVID-19 A5 flyer Responding to COVID-19 label stickers
Responding to COVID-19 FB banner Responding to COVID-19 tile
Responding to COVID-19 Twitter banner Responding to COVID-19 webpage banner 

Additional resources 

Ulverscroft has extended the Free eAudio Support platform for libraries until 31 October 2020, with further 250 titles added to the collection to bring the total of available titles to 750, all with simultaneous access.

Libraries can register for free and read these instructions


This page is accurate as of 18 September 2020 and will be updated as needed.