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NSW public libraries: the COVID-19 response

Report of a survey into how library services adapted to a pandemic
Government libraries Libraries Library and Information Science (LIS) Community services New South Wales

Public libraries in NSW have adapted and innovated in response to the challenges that have resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic.

90 public libraries responded to a survey developed by the State Library of NSW and 641 DI, including metropolitan, regional and rural library services. The survey responses provided a detailed and highly representative snapshot of the state of play. The survey asked respondents to look back to the initial period of the pandemic when libraries were open and adjusting, then to describe their services during lockdown, and then talk about reopening and future services.

The report describes how libraries initially adapted to balance continuity of service with community safety and gives examples of the nimble responses that many libraries exhibited in response to council and government directives, while being mindful of community expectation. The report also includes data in response to a questionnaire, comments from respondents and a series of questions for future discussion.

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