COVID-19 FAQ

COVID-19 – Frequently Asked Questions
As at 4:00 pm, 26 August 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 and archives

What services are libraries now offering?

Libraries Tasmania is currently offering modified services at all libraries and archives, in line with physical distancing guidelines. We are now open for browsing, borrowing, and public computer/internet access at the regular, pre-COVID hours.

Printing and scanning is also available at some libraries.

As always, in addition to having access to our physical services, members can access the full range of our online services.

Additional information can be found in our Roadmap to Reopening. You can also contact your local library for specific details, or call us on 6165 5600 weekdays between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm.

Can I still place a hold in the normal way?

Yes. You can now go to our regular catalogue and place a hold for an item you want that is not currently on-shelf at one of our libraries. You will go into the queue and will be advised in the normal way when your item is available for collection.

What is Click & Collect?

Click & Collect just means that you can place holds on library items that are currently on-shelf at one of our libraries and pick them up from the normal holds shelf.

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. You can then collect the item/s from your chosen local library.

How do I access the Click & Collect service?

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

Items in the Click & Collect catalogue are those that are currently on-shelf at one of our libraries.

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.

How many books can I borrow?

You can borrow 15 items at a time.

How long is the borrowing period?

The borrowing period is three weeks.

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 screening questions to ensure you are healthy. This is for your own protection, and that of other visitors and our own staff who are delivering services to the public.

You will also be required to observe good hand hygiene and physical distancing guidelines, as signposted at each of our libraries.

Can I return borrowed items now?

Yes. Your borrowed items can be returned to any library during its regular opening hours.

They can also be returned through the chutes at Beaconsfield, Burnie, Currie (King Island), Deloraine, Exeter, George Town, Glenorchy, Launceston, Longford, St Marys, Scottsdale and Westbury Libraries at any time.

Additionally, Hobart and Rosny Libraries have return chutes that are currently accessible between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm on weekdays. Devonport’s Library has a chute that is accessible Monday to Thursday, from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm and Friday 8:30 am to 6:00 pm.

Will I be able to come in and browse through hard-copy newspapers?

Yes. To assist with your own health and safety, we ask that you adhere to our conditions of use, which are displayed in your library’s newspaper area.

Will I be able to come into the library?

Yes. Our libraries are now open for browsing, borrowing, and public computer/internet access at the regular, pre-COVID hours.

Printing and scanning is also available at some libraries.

Will I be able to browse the collection at my library?

Yes, you are now able to browse our shelves, stop to read a book, access our public computers or just charge your phone. However, there may be times when we need to ask you to minimise the time you spend inside the library to ensure we meet public gathering restrictions and give everyone the opportunity to enjoy our spaces.

You can also continue to browse our online catalogue and place a hold in the normal way.

Are the archives open?

We are pleased to advise that the Tasmanian Archives is accessible through the History Room at 91 Murray Street by appointment.

Visit the research enquiry service page on our website, or call us if you have any questions. You can reach us on 6165 5538 weekdays from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm.

Can I still access the National Archives of Australia?

You will be able to access the National Archives of Australia (NAA) through the History Room at 91 Murray Street by appointment.

You can find more information about NAA service changes in response to COVID-19 on the NAA website.

What can I expect when I come to the library and archives?

To keep our communities safe, we will be observing Public Health guidelines, including abiding by hand hygiene measures and gathering directions. This means you can expect to see signs, floor markings and hand sanitiser at all our libraries.

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

Please only come to the library and archives if you are well.

Can I book a meeting room?

Yes. Library meeting rooms are now open for community use. However, there are some changes to room capacities to comply with Public Health advice about physical distancing. We have also added a new checklist to the meeting room hire process, and this must be completed and returned before bookings are confirmed.

For more information, contact your local library or visit the meeting room information page on our website.

Will I be able to borrow every type of item?

Yes, provided it is available either through the catalogue or on the shelf.

Are the books safe to handle?

The guidelines we are following for handling books are 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?

You can now return your Book Group bags, but when you do, please make sure the bags contain complete sets.

When will Book Group deliveries begin again?

We’re planning to relaunch Book Groups Tasmania (BGT) and will contact the Secretary of your group to discuss the process of rejoining BGT.

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?

It is no longer considered necessary to quarantine books. However, we recommend you observe good hand hygiene when handling any library items, as you would with any frequently touched items. It is always best to wash your hands before and after handling books or other items.

How is Libraries Tasmania keeping its public areas clean?

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

Public computers, workstations, mice, keyboards and self-issue terminals will be regularly cleaned and disinfected, and clients will be provided with cleaning wipes for their own use.

What specific services are available at my library right now?

Please see our Roadmap to Reopening and contact your local library for specific details. You can also call us on 6165 5600 weekdays between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm.

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.

Can I get my books delivered?

We are pleased to advise we have now commenced our Home Library Service for registered clients.

If you would like further information about the Home Library Service, please read the Home Library Service FAQ below, or contact your local library, or call us on 6165 5600 weekdays from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.

Can I use a public computer?

Yes. However, we will be asking visitors to observe hand hygiene and physical distancing guidelines. Time limits of 30 minutes to one hour will apply to give all visitors the chance to use our computers.

You will be able to call your local library to book a computer timeslot, or—if you come into the library and one is available—you will have the ability to use it at that time. Bookings will have priority.

Why have the time limits decreased?

The shorter time slots of 30 minutes to one hour have been introduced to help comply with physical distancing and other Public Health guidelines to ensure the safety of the public, our staff and volunteers. They will also ensure all members of the public who want to use our public computers get that chance.

Are the public computers safe to use?

We have increased hard surface cleaning at all of our sites. To ensure the public computer you use is as clean as possible, we will provide cleaning wipes for use at each of our terminals. As a condition of use, we ask you to wipe down the screen, keyboard, mouse and surrounding area to assist with your own health and safety.

If I can come in to use a computer, can I browse the shelves?

Yes. You are now able to browse our shelves, stop to read a book or just charge your phone. However, there may be times when we need to ask you to minimise the time you spend inside the library to ensure we meet public gathering restrictions and give everyone the opportunity to enjoy our spaces.

You can also still browse our online catalogue and place a hold in the normal way.

Home Library Service

When will the Home Library Service begin again?

We have now begun to reintroduce our Home Library Service, in line with physical distancing and other Public Health guidelines, to ensure the safety of the public, our staff and volunteers.

If you are a current Home Library Service client, we will contact you to let you know how and when your books will be delivered.

If you would like further information, please contact your local library.

Will the courier be allowed to bring my books into the house?

We would prefer our couriers to leave the books at your doorstep; however, if there is a need to bring the items into your home, they will do so observing safe physical distancing.

Will I have the same courier delivering my books?

In most cases, we have the same couriers delivering books to clients. If your usual courier is unavailable, someone from the library will contact you to discuss your new arrangements.

Will my courier understand physical distancing and hygiene requirements?

Yes. All our couriers have been given a checklist of what they need to do and how important it is to maintain safe distances and good hygiene.

Will my books be delivered on the same days they used to be?

Yes. As far as possible, we are re-introducing the same service you have always had.

Who should I contact to update my details?

You need to speak to the staff contact person at your local library. They will help you update your details.

Who do I call if I would like to join the Home Library Service?

The Home Library Service is offered by a number of libraries around the state. You can call your local library to ask for details, or go to the Home Library Service page on our website for more information.

Are there conditions for joining the Home Library Service?

Yes, the service is primarily for people who are unable to get to the library. If you call your local library, the friendly staff can explain the requirements to you, or go to the Home Library Service page on our website for more information.

I have some Home Library Service books at home, but no one has contacted me about collecting them. What should I do?

You should hear from the library and courier soon. Each library is re-introducing the service once their couriers are ready to start.

Is the Home Library Service going to continue or will it be suspended again?

We hope to re-introduce the service as normal; however, if there is an outbreak of COVID-19, we will be guided by Public Health advice.

Will my books be safe?

Yes. However, we recommend you observe good hand hygiene when handling your books, as with any frequently touched items. It is always best to wash your hands before and after handling your books.

Do I have to do anything to clean the books?

No. Please just observe good hand hygiene when using the books; that is, wash your hands before and after handling them.

I live in an aged care facility. Will my books be delivered soon?

Yes. We have contacted the couriers and the aged care facility, and your service should restart very soon.

I’m not really into books. Can I borrow other items?

Yes. In addition to books, we have a range of different items on offer, including magazines, DVDs and CDs. Just contact your library and ask them to update your preference profile.

My eyesight is going. Can I get audio books?

Yes, we can supply you with audio books and music. Just update your preference profile with your local library staff.

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, or read more about membership. All you need to do is 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, after which you can start borrowing. After joining in this way, you have three weeks to collect your card from your nominated library.

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

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

If you join online now, you can access eResources immediately, and you will have three weeks to collect your card.

We encourage you to come into your nominated library and collect your library card within that three-week period.

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 effect on your ability to access any of our eResources.

Can I access Ancestry Library and FindMyPast

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.

Coping with quarantine

What can I do in quarantine or home isolation?

We know that spending a long time in quarantine or home isolation can be challenging. If you’re looking for opportunities, to reduce the boredom, why not try using the free online resources offered by Libraries Tasmania?

Using your Libraries Tasmania membership, you can access eBooks and stories, eMagazines, eComics, eNews and journals, eMusic, eFilms and eLanguages for free. You can also browse the online databases, historical newspapers, family history resources, research and reference material, or access online learning resources for younger children — among so many other things.

Just go to:

  • eLibrary where you will find information about borrowing eResources online, or
  • Tasmanian archives + heritage for historical newspapers, family history, or research and reference material.

If you aren’t already a member, you can join online here for free. 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—and then you can start borrowing. Simple as that!

Other

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

Yes. You can call your local library, or call us on (03) 6165 5600 anytime on weekdays from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. You can also use our online chat service weekdays from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm.

If your question is not covered by these FAQs:

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's Coronavirus website coronavirus.tas.gov.au