In June 2020, Australia had faced its first lockdown and in many parts of the country we were starting to adapt to the ‘new normal’. The New Generation Advisory Committee (NGAC) noticed an apprehension among new professionals during two #AusLibChats. The May topic for #AusLibChat was Housebound and the June topic was Mindfulness. During both chats it was clear from the tweets that people were struggling to find peace during these stressful times. Many who were casuals lost their jobs. Others looking for employment were voicing their dismay at the lack of opportunities.
The Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) submission to the Australia Council for the Arts discusses how libraries across the sector have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic. Libraries have been highly agile, adapting and embracing new technologies, delivering online forums and making electronic resources widely available. As a sector, libraries have proved to be proactive and exceptionally resilient throughout the pandemic.
Between 18 May and 10 July 2020, the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) ran a survey through Survey Monkey, asking public libraries how they had responded to the COVID-19 lockdown during the month of April, specifically relating to new memberships, loans of print and digital items, delivery or collection services, and virtual storytimes.
93 responses on behalf of 293 central and branch libraries in four states and two territories were received. There were no responses for Tasmania and Victoria.
This submission from the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA), the Australian Public Library Alliance (APLA), and the Council of Australian University Librarians (CAUL) presents how libraries across the sector have supported their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The submission also discusses the issues encountered and provides the following recommendations to the Senate Committee: