COVID-19 FAQ

COVID-19 – Frequently Asked Questions
As at 8:30 pm, 2 June 2020.

These FAQs relate to changes to our services due to the closure of all Libraries Tasmania sites as a result of the COVID-19 situation, and the subsequent staged reopening of sites.

Reopening of libraries

Why are libraries closed?

Libraries are closed for the safety of the public and our staff. This was a decision made by the State Government on 24 March 2020 and the Australian Government one day later, on 25 March 2020.

Libraries are now allowed to open provided they observe Public Health and government guidelines and restrictions, which is why Libraries Tasmania is gradually introducing Click & Collect and other modified services, at the same time keeping the safety of the public and our staff front of mind.

When will libraries reopen?

Libraries Tasmania has begun a staged approach to easing the restrictions enforced by COVID-19, offering limited services at some sites in line with physical distancing guidelines.

We began on Monday, 18 May 2020 by offering a Click & Collect borrowing service at Launceston Library. We have now added a number of other libraries around the state and will continue to do so over the coming weeks.

If you wish to borrow from one of our Click & Collect libraries, you will be able to place a hold online and come in to collect your items once you are contacted by either email or phone.

Please note that the online catalogues won’t be available until the day the library is scheduled to open, and the catalogue will only include items that are on the shelf at one of our participating Click & Collect libraries.

We’re not open for general browsing just yet, but don’t forget our huge range of online services are available on our website.

Can I borrow a book?

Members can now borrow physical books through our Click & Collect service, which is being rolled out at various locations around the state.

Libraries are not open for general browsing just yet, but you can continue to borrow from our huge range of online resources.

What is Click & Collect?

Our Click & Collect service allows you to place holds on library items online or by phone, and then collect them at one of our local libraries that offer the service.

You can place a hold at any time online through the designated Click & Collect catalogue on our website, or you can call us on 6165 5600 on weekdays between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm and we can place the hold for you.

Once you’ve placed a hold, you will be notified when your item is ready for collection (either by email or phone), and the hours during which you may collect it. You can then collect the item/s from your chosen local library within the designated Click & Collect hours.

Please check your local library for their advertised Click & Collect hours of service.

How do I access the Click & Collect service?

If you are an existing Libraries Tasmania member, you can access our new Click & Collect service here. Just search for the title you want and place your hold in the normal way.

Please note that each library's Click & Collect catalogue won’t be available until the day the Click & Collect service commences for that library.

See our list of Libraries offering Click & Collect

If you are not already a Libraries Tasmania member, you can join now. Find out more about membership.

If you need help, please call our help line on (03) 6165 5600, where one of our friendly staff can give you a hand. We’re available Mondays to Fridays, between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm.

Why is Click & Collect only being offered in larger libraries when regional areas have limited access to bookstores and other options, and have greater need?

We are taking a staged approach to the re-introduction of our physical services to ensure we protect the safety of the public and our staff. Commencing this service in larger libraries means we have the staffing levels and physical space to undertake the necessary processes to follow public health guidelines. Unfortunately, this is not yet possible in our smaller libraries, but we recognise the need and are working to offer more to our regional clients soon.

Which libraries can I collect my books from?

See our list of Libraries offering Click & Collect. You simply need to place a hold online or via our statewide phone service (on 6165 5600), and then—once you have been contacted by either email or phone—come in to collect your items.

Please note that not all libraries are yet offering Click & Collect, so it’s important to check the list of Libraries offering Click & Collect on our website, or refer to our FaceBook pages to get the most up-to-date information.

Online catalogues won’t be available until the day the library is scheduled to open, and the catalogue will only include items that are on the shelf at one of our participating Click & Collect libraries.

How many books can I borrow?

Our borrowing limit has been increased to 30 items.

How long is the borrowing period?

The borrowing period has been extended to six weeks.

What will happen to the books I have on hold right now, and will I lose my place in the holds queue?

Holds have not been cancelled, and you will not lose your place in the queue.

If you placed a hold and we previously notified you that it was available, it will still be waiting for you. We will contact you when your library is about to commence the Click & Collectservice with pickup instructions.

If you placed a hold and were in a queue awaiting the item when we closed due to COVID-19, we will fill your hold at the earliest opportunity once your library starts offering the Click & Collect service.

If I am unwell, can I still come and collect my books?

No. Please do not come to the library if you are unwell.

If I come to the library, will I be screened to see if I am well enough to enter?

In line with other Tasmanian Government agencies, staff may ask clients screening questions to ensure they are healthy. This is for your own protection, and that of other visitors and our own staff who are delivering services to the public.

Can I return borrowed items now?

Yes. Your borrowed items can be returned to Burnie, Currie (King Island) and Launceston Libraries at any time of the day. Additionally, the Devonport, Glenorchy, Hobart and Rosny Libraries have return chutes that are currently accessible between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm on weekdays. You can also return items when you use any of our Click & Collect services.

See our list of Libraries offering Click & Collect.

Will I be able to come into the library?

Once your library is open for Click & Collect, you can come in, but only for a short time to collect your pre-ordered items. Once you place a hold, you will receive an email or a phone call to let you know when the items are ready for collection.

Libraries won’t be open for general browsing and visiting, but you can continue to borrow from our online resources.

Will I be able to browse the collection?

No. We are only offering a Click & Collect service at this stage, but you can browse our catalogue online.

Please also be aware that the Click & Collect catalogue will only include items that are on the shelf at one of our participating Click & Collect libraries.

What can I expect when I come to collect my books?

To keep our communities safe, we will be observing public health guidelines, including physical distancing. This means you can expect to see signs, floor markings and sanitiser.

While we’ve yet to experience long lines of people waiting to collect their books, this will be depend on the number of members who arrive to collect their holds. Staff will be doing all they can to make the experience a pleasant as possible, so please be patient with them and with other clients.

Please only come to the library when you’ve been notified by email or phone that you have a hold to collect—and don’t forget to bring a bag for your books and your current library card (or a piece of ID if you joined online).

Will I be able to borrow every type of item?

You can place a hold on any item in the Click & Collect catalogue for your library when it becomes available. This won’t include every single item or type of item. For example, the Express Book service is not available through Click & Collect, as these books will be placed into the general lending collection to increase opportunities for borrowing.

Please also be aware that the Click & Collect catalogue will only include items that are on the shelf at one of our participating Click & Collect libraries.

As we progressively add other services, we will update our advice in the FAQs, on our website and in social media.

Are the books safe to handle?

The guidelines we are following for handling books is based on international research and national guidelines. If you follow our advice, the library items will be safe to handle. This means washing your hands or using sanitiser before and after handling books, DVDs or other hard surfaces.

When can I return my Book Group books?

Once our libraries reopen, you can return your Book Group bags, but when you do, please make sure the bags contain complete sets of books. This includes libraries that are only open for Click & Collect.

When will Book Group deliveries begin again?

We’re planning to relaunch Book Groups Tasmania (BGT) as part of our Stage 3 reopening in mid-July. We will contact the Secretary of your group soon to discuss the process of re-joining BGT.

Will Book Groups be safe?

While our libraries have been closed, we’ve taken the opportunity to review the BGT program, and will be introducing some changes to the way we deliver the books to you.

Book groups are a popular service at libraries around the country, and we want to make sure our program provides you with the latest popular titles and the best literary works in a safe and enjoyable way. We’ll update your Secretary when we contact them to discuss rejoining.

How do I sanitise my books at home?

There is no need to sanitise your books. They should be treated like all other frequently touched surfaces. It is always wise to wash your hands before and after handling any items like books, CDs or DVDs.

What is Libraries Tasmania doing to sanitise books and other items?

Based on advice from the Australian Library and Information Association, and endorsement from Public Health, Libraries Tasmania is leaving books untouched in a dedicated quarantine area for a 24-hour period before handling and recirculating.

DVDs or other materials with plastic covers will be wiped down with alcohol wipes.

Hard, high-touch surfaces, such as railings, doorknobs, faucets, and light switches will be cleaned and disinfected at least once a day – more often if possible.

Once in use by the public, PCs, work stations, mice and keyboards will be cleaned and disinfected after each use.

Why are services being offered at some libraries and not at others?

We are taking a staged approach to the re-introduction of our physical services to ensure we protect the safety of the public and our staff. Commencing this service in larger libraries means we have the staffing levels and physical space to undertake the necessary processes to follow public health guidelines. Unfortunately, this is not yet possible in our smaller libraries, but we recognise the need and are working to offer more to our regional clients soon.

Details of upcoming services will be posted on social media and our website.

Are there any other services available at libraries at this stage?

All our online services continue to be available. However, our Click & Collect service is the only physical service currently available.

If you have any questions at all, and would like to speak with one of our friendly staff members, just call us on (03) 6165 5600, weekdays between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm.

Libraries, Archives and Books

Are the archives open?

In the interests of public safety, the Tasmanian Archives has been temporarily closed to the public until further notice. We will let you know via our website and social media channels when this changes.
We encourage you to visit the research enquiry service page on our website, or call us if you have any questions. You can reach us on (03) 6165 5538 from Monday to Friday, 9:30 am to 5:00 pm.
You can also reach us on our online chat service from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm, Monday to Friday.

Can I still access the National Archives of Australia?

The National Archives of Australia (NAA) has closed all its buildings, research centres and galleries. You can find more information about their service changes in response to COVID-19 on the NAA website

What does it cost to join the library?

Membership of Libraries Tasmania is free. . Join online, or read more about membership.

Will I be penalised if I return my books late?

No. There are no financial penalties for the late return of books. Hold onto your books until libraries are able to open again, or we are able to put other arrangements in place.

Can I still borrow books?

You can borrow e-resources online. Go to our eLibrary page where you will find information about borrowing e-resources online.

How can I return my books while the library is closed?

Simply hold onto the items until we reopen. There are no fines for overdue items at Libraries Tasmania.

If you are really keen, your borrowed items can be returned to Launceston and Currie (King Island) Libraries at any time of the day.

Additionally, the Devonport, Glenorchy and Hobart Libraries have return chutes that are currently accessible between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm on weekdays.

I returned my books, so why do they still appear in my online account?

We have only recently recommenced checking books back in. You should see the items disappear once we’ve completed this process. As we no longer charge overdue fees, there will be no impact on your membership.

Can I get my books delivered?

We have temporarily suspended our Home Library Service and are unfortunately unable to deliver books to clients at this time.

What will happen to the books I have on hold right now, and will I lose my place in the holds queue?

Holds have not been cancelled, and you will not lose your place in the queue.

If you placed a hold and we previously notified you that it was available, it will still be waiting for you. We will contact you when your library is about to commence the Click & Collect service with pickup instructions.

If you placed a hold and were in a queue awaiting the item when we closed due to COVID-19, we will fill your hold at the earliest opportunity once your library starts offering the Click & Collect service.

Can I place a hold on books now?

Members can place holds and borrow books through our Click & Collect service, which is being rolled out at various locations around the state

If you wish to borrow from one of the below libraries, you will be able to place a hold online and come in to collect your items, starting on the following days:

  • Launceston - Monday 18 May
  • Burnie - Monday 25 May
  • Glenorchy - Tuesday 26 May
  • Devonport - Tuesday 26 May
  • Hobart - Wednesday 27 May
  • Rosny - Wednesday 27 May
  • Kingston - Monday, 1 June (delayed due to renovations).

Additional libraries will be added following this. As each library comes on board, the ability to place holds will extend to that location. We’ll provide updates on our website and in social media.

Once you can place holds for the Click & Collect service, it’s as simple as searching for the title you want and placing your hold in the normal way.

If you are not already a Libraries Tasmania member, you will need to apply for membership first. Read more about membership.

If you need help, please call our help line on (03) 6165 5600, where one of our friendly staff can give you a hand. We’re available Mondays to Fridays, between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm.

When will the Home Library Service begin again?

As part of Libraries Tasmania’s staged approach to reintroducing services, we expect the Home Library Service (HLS) will recommence from 15 June, 2020. This will be in line with physical distancing and other public health guidelines, as the safety of the public, and our staff and volunteers is paramount.

Staff are already selecting books for our HLS clients in preparation for it recommencing, at which time we will also be accepting returns.

If you are a current HLS client, we will contact you before 15 June and let you know how and when your books will be delivered.

Online Resources, and Membership

What library services can I access online?

All current library members can access eBooks and stories, eMagazines, eComics, eNews and journals, eMusic, eFilms and eLanguages. You can also browse our online databases, historical newspapers, family history resources, research and reference material—among so many other things.
Go to
  • eLibrary where you will find information about borrowing eResources online.
  • Tasmanian archives + heritage for historical newspapers, family history, or research and reference material.
Also see our selection of links to online learning resources for younger children.

I'm not a library member. Can I join online?

Yes. Libraries Tasmania membership is free. Join online here. Enter your information and we will send you a confirmation email with your membership number. You will then be asked to create your own PIN number. At this stage, your online membership will be valid until 30 June 2020. We will let you know if this changes.

I've signed up for membership online, but how do I collect my card and borrow eResources?

If you recently joined online and have not yet collected your card, your membership has been extended from the original three week period to 30 June 2020. You will be able to collect your library card when our libraries reopen.

All new members have the same access to online resources as existing members.

Can I still borrow eResources if I have been blocked from borrowing because of an overdue or lost item?

Yes, being ‘blocked’ because of lost or overdue books has no affect on your ability to access any of our eResources.

Can I access Ancestry Library and FindMyPast now that the library is closed?

Yes. As long as you’re a member of Libraries Tasmania, you can still access both these great resources.
For Ancestry Library, simply use your Libraries Tasmania membership details to log in.
For FindMyPast, all you need to do is contact us on our online chat service to get the login details. The chat service is open from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm, Monday to Friday.

Other Services

Is the Home Library Service still available?

The Home Library Service has been temporarily suspended while we consider options to continue to serve our clients.

As part of our staged approach to reintroducing services, we expect the Home Library Service will recommence from 15 June, 2020. This will be in line with physical distancing and other public health guidelines, as the safety of the public, and our staff and volunteers is paramount.

Staff are already selecting books for our HLS clients in preparation for it recommencing, at which time we will also be accepting returns.

If you are a current HLS client, we will contact you before 15 June and let you know how and when your books will be delivered.

Can I call the library and talk to a staff member?

Yes. You can call the library on (03) 6165 5600, anytime from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday to Friday, or you can use our online chat service from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm, Monday to Friday.

Can I still meet with my literacy tutor?

No. As our libraries are closed, our tutors are not meeting face-to-face with clients. We have added many resources on our website to help you continue to improve your literacy. Have a look on our website, or ring our helpline on (03) 6165 5600 if you want help to find them. You can also talk to your literacy coordinator about what online arrangements may be in place for tutoring at your location.

If your question is not covered here:

You can call us on (03) 6165 5600 anytime from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday to Friday and we will do our best to answer your question. Or you can use our online chat service from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm, Monday to Friday.

And if you have any broader questions regarding COVID-19 and how it might affect you, go to the Tasmanian Government Coronavirus website coronavirus.tas.gov.au