Public Libraries & COVID-19

Information for Public Libraries on Government regulations relating to COVID-19

Public Library Colleagues  this page is where you will find the latest Government information on COVID 19 that directly relates to libraries.

The situation moves quickly so check in regularly.

COVID Safety Factsheet  – Further information for Public Libraries - Phase 4 (27 June 2020) - updated 26 June 2020

26/6/2020 

COVID Safety Factsheet  – Further information for Public Libraries - Phase 4 (27 June 2020) (PDF 136KB)

The Western Australian Government has implemented a staged lifting of COVID-19 restrictions and developed guidelines to assist businesses and community activities to reopen or recommence.

Safety requirements and accompanying guidance to reopen are contained in the COVID Safety Guidelines Phase 4.

A local government that operates a public library that was required to close under Directions made under the Emergency Management Act and not yet reopened, is required to complete a COVID Safety Plan  and display a COVID Safety Certificate before reopening.

Libraries that have reopened are required to revise their COVID Safety Plan in line with Phase 4 Guidelines. You may be able to increase your premises’ capacity which should be reflected on your COVID Safety Plan Certificate.

This applies to all public libraries including joint-use and co-located services (including libraries in Community Resource Centres). If your local government has more than one library service point, you must prepare a COVID Safety Plan for each library before reopening.

The purpose of this document is to outline further considerations specifically for the reopening of public library services and should be read in conjunction with the above COVID Safety Guidelines and COVID Safety Plan.

Other considerations

Physical and social distancing:

  • In instances where physical distancing may not be possible, physical barriers like Perspex screens may reduce exposure between staff and patrons. The effectiveness of such measures against COVID-19 is still not known, therefore, these screens will be more effective when used in combination with good hand hygiene and regular cleaning.

Library materials handling:

  • Self-checkout machines will help to minimise the handling of library materials by more than one person and clients should be encouraged to use them where available.
  • Local governments should decide what materials safe handling practices are implemented including if materials will be quarantined after use:
    • Gloves may be used by staff to handle materials.
    • DVDs and other materials with plastic covers may be wiped down after each use.
    • Paper based products (books, newspapers, magazines) may be left untouched in a dedicated quarantine area for at least 24 hours prior to handling and recirculating.

Hygiene considerations:

  • Ensure thorough and regular cleaning of common surfaces, ‘high touch’ items and shared amenities e.g. computers, equipment, self-check machines, trolleys, door handles, tables, chairs and toilets.
  • Remove communal items where possible e.g. soft toys, games, play equipment and stationery items.
  • Ensure your library has the appropriate cleaning products and equipment to perform cleaning and disinfection (detergent, disinfectant, sanitiser, wipes).
  • Toilets and water dispensers within library premises can be made available to patrons. Increased cleaning regimes should be put in place.

Additional information on cleaning is available from the WA Heath website, these include:

Group activities:

  • For group activities, like Story Time and Baby Rhyme Time, it is recommended good practice physical distancing principles are applied including:
  • maintain a minimum of 2 square metres (2sqm) per person; and
  • maintain physical distancing between people who are not from the same household.
  • Joint-use libraries should do a risk assessment with their school to determine if class groups will be able to visit the library.

Food businesses within libraries:

  • If the library includes a café or other food service arrangement, there are specific requirements that must be met.  The COVID Safety Guidelines: Food and Licensed Venues (Phase 4) outlines the mandatory conditions on the re-opening of food businesses, or where food businesses are expanding beyond takeaway only.

Appendix A – Checklist: Additional items for public libraries to consider prior to reopening

To be read in conjunction with the checklists contained the COVID Safety Guidelines and COVID Safety Plan.

Physical distancing

  • How are you implementing good practice physical distancing principles during group activities like Story Time and Baby Rhyme Time?
  • If you are a joint-use library, have you done a risk assessment with your school before you allow class visits?

Library Materials handling

  • Reinforce with staff and patrons the use of self-checkout machines for circulation of library materials.
  • Ensure your library has the appropriate cleaning products and equipment (gloves and wipes).
  • Decide if materials will be quarantined after use. If so:
    • Ensure there is a process for quarantining returned library materials and those used within the library.
    • Have you set aside an area in the library for the quarantine of materials?

Hygiene considerations

  • Ensure thorough and regular cleaning of common surfaces, ‘high touch’ items and shared amenities e.g. computers, equipment, self-check machines, trolleys, door handles, tables, chairs and toilets.
  • Have communal items been removed where possible? E.g. Soft toys, games, play equipment, public water dispensers and stationery items.
  • Ensure your library has the appropriate cleaning products and equipment to perform cleaning and disinfection (detergent, disinfectant, sanitiser, wipes).

COVID Safety Plan and Certificate (Phase 4 - 27 June 2020)

26/06/2020

State Library’s Plan and Certificate (last page of document) are examples of what has to be available before you open to the public. Your local government is responsible for approving your Plan. The State Library’s Certificate is displayed at the entrance of the Library and the Plan is available on our website and printed copies at our Welcome Desk.

COVID Safety Factsheet  – Further information for Public Libraries - Phase 3 (6 June 2020) - updated 17 June 2020

17/6/2020

The Department of Health are no longer making the linked document Infection prevention and control Advice for libraries offering home delivery services available. Links to this document have been removed from the COVID Safety Factsheet..

COVID Safety Factsheet  – Further information for Public Libraries - Phase 3 (6 June 2020, updated 17 June 2020) (PDF 138KB)

COVID Safety Factsheet  – Further information for Public Libraries - Phase 3 (6 June 2020)

3/6/2020

COVID Safety Factsheet  – Further information for Public Libraries - Phase 3 (6 June 2020) (PDF 138KB)

The Western Australian Government has implemented a staged lifting of COVID-19 restrictions and developed guidelines to assist businesses and community activities to reopen or recommence.

Safety requirements and accompanying guidance to reopen are contained in the COVID Safety Guidelines (Phase 3).

A local government that operates a public library that was required to close under Directions made under the Emergency Management Act and not yet reopened, is required to complete a COVID Safety Plan  and display a COVID Safety Certificate before reopening.

This applies to all public libraries including joint-use and co-located services (including libraries in Community Resource Centres). If your local government has more than one library service point, you must prepare a COVID Safety Plan for each library before reopening.

Any public library that opened in Phase 2 (since 18 May 2020) should review the new guidelines and update their COVID Safety Plan accordingly. You may be able to increase your premises’ capacity which should be reflected on your COVID Safety Plan Certificate.

The purpose of this document is to outline further considerations specifically for the reopening of public library services and should be read in conjunction with the above COVID Safety Guidelines and COVID Safety Plan.

Other considerations

Physical and social distancing:

  • In instances where physical distancing may not be possible, physical barriers like Perspex screens may reduce exposure between staff and patrons. The effectiveness of such measures against COVID-19 is still not known, therefore, these screens will be more effective when used in combination with good hand hygiene and regular cleaning.

Library materials handling:

  • Self-checkout machines will help to minimise the handling of library materials by more than one person and clients should be encouraged to use them where available.
  • Gloves should be used by staff to handle materials when moving collections into quarantine and removed afterwards.
  • Paper based products (books, newspapers, magazines) should be left untouched in a dedicated quarantine area for at least 24 hours prior to handling and recirculating.
  • DVDs and other materials with plastic covers can be wiped down after each use.
  • The Department of Health’s Infection prevention and control Advice for libraries offering home delivery services provides helpful information on safe library materials handling. (document no longer available, link removed 17 June 2020).

Hygiene considerations:

  • Ensure thorough and regular cleaning of common surfaces, ‘high touch’ items and shared amenities e.g. computers, equipment, self-check machines, trolleys, door handles, tables, chairs and toilets.
  • Remove communal items where possible e.g. soft toys, games, play equipment and stationery items.
  • Ensure your library has the appropriate cleaning products and equipment to perform cleaning and disinfection (detergent, disinfectant, sanitiser, wipes).
  • Toilets within library premises can be made available to patrons. Increased cleaning regimes should be put in place.
  • Water dispensers should be switched off where possible and notices posted advising patrons that due to the health risk this is unavailable.

Additional information on cleaning is available from the WA Heath website, these include:

Group activities:

  • For group activities, like Story Time and Baby Rhyme Time, it is recommended good practice physical distancing principles are applied including:
  • maintain 1.5 metre separation between people who are not from the same household; and
  • maintain a minimum of 2 square metres (2sqm) per person 
  • Joint-use libraries should do a risk assessment with their school to determine if class groups will be able to visit the library.

Food businesses within libraries:

  • If the library includes a café or other food service arrangement, there are specific requirements that must be met.  The COVID Safety Guidelines: Food and Licensed Venues (Phase 3) outlines the mandatory conditions on the re-opening of food businesses, or where food businesses are expanding beyond takeaway only.

Appendix A – Checklist: Additional items for public libraries to consider prior to reopening

To be read in conjunction with the checklists contained the COVID Safety Guidelines and COVID Safety Plan.

Physical distancing

  • How are you implementing good practice physical distancing principles during group activities like Story Time and Baby Rhyme Time?
  • If you are a joint-use library, have you done a risk assessment with your school before you allow class visits?

Library Materials handling

  • Reinforce with staff and patrons the use of self-checkout machines for circulation of library materials.
  • Ensure there is a process for quarantining returned library materials and those used within the library.
  • Have you set aside an area in the library for the quarantine of materials?
  • Ensure your library has the appropriate cleaning products and equipment for materials handling (gloves and wipes).

Hygiene considerations

  • Ensure thorough and regular cleaning of common surfaces, ‘high touch’ items and shared amenities e.g. computers, equipment, self-check machines, trolleys, door handles, tables, chairs and toilets.
  • Have communal items been removed where possible? E.g. Soft toys, games, play equipment, public water dispensers and stationery items.
  • Ensure your library has the appropriate cleaning products and equipment to perform cleaning and disinfection (detergent, disinfectant, sanitiser, wipes).

COVID Safety Plan and Certificate (Phase 3 - 6 June 2020)

04/06/2020

State Library’s Plan and Certificate (last page of document) are examples of what has to be available before you open to the public. Your local government is responsible for approving your Plan. The State Library’s Certificate is displayed at the entrance of the Library and the Plan is available on our website and printed copies at our Welcome Desk.

COVID Safety Factsheet  – Further information for Public Libraries - Phase 2 (18 May 2020)

15/5/2020

COVID Safety Factsheet (Phase 2) – Further information for Public Libraries (PDF 255KB)

The Western Australian Government has implemented a staged lifting of COVID-19 restrictions and developed guidelines to assist businesses and community activities to reopen or recommence.

Safety requirements and accompanying guidance to reopen are contained in the COVID Safety Guidelines.

A local government that operates a public library that was required to close under Directions made under the Emergency Management Act is required to complete a COVID Safety Plan and display a COVID Safety Certificate before reopening.

This applies to all public libraries including joint-use and co-located services (including libraries in Community Resource Centres). If your local government has more than one library service point, you must prepare a COVID Safety Plan for each library.

The purpose of this document is to outline further considerations specifically for the reopening of public library services and should be read in conjunction with the above COVID Safety Guidelines and COVID Safety Plan.

Other considerations

Physical and social distancing:

  • In instances where social distancing may not be possible, physical barriers like Perspex screens may reduce exposure between staff and patrons. The effectiveness of such measures against COVID-19 is still not known, therefore, these screens will be more effective when used in combination with good hand hygiene and regular cleaning.

Library materials handling:

  • Self-checkout machines will help to minimise the handling of library materials by more than one person and clients should be encouraged to use them where available.
  • Gloves should be used by staff to handle materials when moving collections into quarantine and removed afterwards.
  • Paper based products (books, newspapers, magazines) should be left untouched in a dedicated quarantine area for at least 24 hours prior to handling and recirculating.
  • DVDs and other materials with plastic covers can be wiped down after each use.
  • The Department of Health’s Infection prevention and control Advice for libraries offering home delivery services provides helpful information on safe library materials handling (document no longer available, link removed 17 June 2020).

Hygiene considerations:

  • Ensure thorough and regular cleaning of common surfaces, ‘high touch’ items and shared amenities e.g. computers, equipment, self-check machines, trolleys, door handles, tables, chairs and toilets.
  • Remove communal items where possible e.g. soft toys, games, play equipment and stationery items.
  • Ensure your library has the appropriate cleaning products and equipment to perform cleaning and disinfection (detergent, disinfectant, sanitiser, wipes).
  • Toilets within library premises can be made available to patrons. Increased cleaning regimes should be put in place.
  • Water dispensers should be switched off where possible and notices posted advising patrons that due to the health risk this is unavailable.

Additional information on cleaning is available from the WA Heath website, these include:

Group activities:

  • For group activities, like Story Time and Baby Rhyme Time, it is recommended good practice physical distancing principles are applied including: maintain 1.5 metre separation between people who are not from the same household; and maintain a minimum of 4 square metres (4sqm) per person 
  • Joint-use libraries should do a risk assessment with their school to determine if class groups will be able to visit the library.

Food businesses within libraries:

  • If the library includes a café or other food service arrangement, there are specific requirements that must be met.  The COVID-19 Safety Guidelines for Food Businesses outlines the mandatory conditions on the re-opening of food businesses, or where food businesses are expanding beyond takeaway only.

Appendix A – Checklist: Additional items for public libraries to consider prior to reopening

To be read in conjunction with the checklists contained the COVID Safety Guidelines and COVID Safety Plan.

Physical and social distancing

  • How are you implementing good practice physical distancing principles during group activities like Story Time and Baby Rhyme Time?
  • If you are a joint-use library, have you done a risk assessment with your school before you allow class visits?

Library Materials handling

  • Reinforce with staff and patrons the use of self-checkout machines for circulation of library materials.
  • Ensure there is a process for quarantining returned library materials and those used within the library.
  • Have you set aside an area in the library for the quarantine of materials?
  • Ensure your library has the appropriate cleaning products and equipment for materials handling (gloves and wipes).

Hygiene considerations

  • Ensure thorough and regular cleaning of common surfaces, ‘high touch’ items and shared amenities e.g. computers, equipment, self-check machines, trolleys, door handles, tables, chairs and toilets.
  • Have communal items been removed where possible? E.g. Soft toys, games, play equipment, public water dispensers and stationery items.
  • Ensure your library has the appropriate cleaning products and equipment to perform cleaning and disinfection (detergent, disinfectant, sanitiser, wipes).

Message from the State Librarian – Margaret Allen

14/05/2020

Good afternoon colleagues

I would like to draw your attention to the COVID Safety Guidelines and COVID Safety Plan that has been released by government this afternoon. 

Public Libraries were closed by Directions under the Emergency Management Act and so must complete a COVID Safety Plan before reopening and display a COVID Safety Plan Certificate in a visible location on the library premises.

Further information is available at https://www.wa.gov.au/organisation/department-of-the-premier-and-cabinet/covid-19-coronavirus-business-and-industry-advice#covid-safety-plan

This is particularly important for libraries who intend to reopen their premises from Monday 18th.

This is a generic set of guidelines and safety plan which will enable libraries to meet the legal requirements to reopen in the absence of a specific set of guidelines for libraries.  SLWA will be using these to support our reopening on Monday 18th May at 9am.

Should you have any specific questions regarding the attached, how this applies to libraries and your reopening please contact the help desk public.libraries@slwa.wa.gov.au or by phone: 08 9427 3219.

Last updated on: 26 June 2020