COVID-19 Safety Plan

Version: 3.0
Last Amendment: 5 August 2020
Policy owner/sponsor: Chief Operating Officer
Branch contact: Senior Advisor, Strategy and Government Relations
Approved by: Chief Operating Officer
Date approved: 5 August 2020
Next review: 5 November 2020 or as required

PDF (145KB)


This Safety Plan outlines how the State Library of New South Wales (the Library) is complying with Public Health Orders and NSW Health advice in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic, and managing risks posed by the virus to staff, volunteers, readers and visitors. The format of the Plan is based on recommendations provided in Checklist for COVID-19 Safety in NSW Libraries issued by NSW Health.

Operational requirements

Wellbeing of staff and visitors


The Library has instituted an Action Plan for persons presenting with COVID-19 symptoms.

Any staff, volunteers, or visitors who present as unwell will be asked to have a temperature check, and if above 37.5°C will be asked to leave and be referred for COVID-19 testing. Any individual who is asked to leave for this reason will be provided with a disposable mask if they do not have their own. People will not be able to return to the Library until the test is cleared and symptoms have subsided.

Advice to staff and volunteers

The Library has developed a COVID-Safe handbook which provides information for staff on when to get tested, physical distancing and cleaning.

The majority of Library staff continue to work from home with primarily front-facing personnel onsite who have received appropriate training in relation to staying away from work when sick, physical distancing, cleaning requirements and managing sick visitors.

Volunteers have not yet resumed at the Library and will be advised when appropriate.

Staff leave and entitlements

Information on leave and entitlements is provided to staff in the Handbook noted above.

Conditions of entry

Special conditions of entry in light of the COVID-19 pandemic have been addended to the Library’s Reader and Visitor Code of Conduct and are regularly updated on the Library’s website and other communication channels.


Visitors who are in a high-risk category, e.g. over 70 years, suppressed immunity, etc. are encouraged to speak with Library staff to discuss their requirements.

Physical distancing


Both reading rooms in the Library, and discrete spaces within those, have been carefully measured and calculated to determine the upper limit of people who can safely occupy each space.


Signage is provided at entrances to all public areas to indicate the maximum capacity of people based on the limit of one person per four square metres.  Additional signage is installed across the Library to encourage appropriate physical distancing.


All seating and furniture in the Library have been arranged to ensure more than adequate physical distancing measures.  Surplus furniture has been removed from public spaces.

Public programs

All public programs are currently limited to 20 people.


Areas which attract queuing such as service desks, have signage and floor makers in place to ensure people are suitably physically distanced.

Staff physical distancing

Meal and meeting rooms for staff all have capacity limits in place - with signage installed and excess furniture removed - to encourage appropriate physical distancing.

Virtual meetings

Where possible, staff are encouraged to preference virtual meetings over physical ones. Meeting rooms have adequate digital infrastructure in place to facilitate hybrid virtual and physical meetings.

Staggered working hours

The Library’s core working hours have been varied to be from 11am – 3pm. This allows staff who are required onsite to utilise public transport outside of peak times. Staff can take meal breaks anytime between 11 and 2.

Physical barriers

Perspex barriers have been installed on the service desks in the Library’s reading rooms.


Library staff are encouraged to work from home where practicable.

Front-of-house staff have been rostered with a consistent group of colleagues so that any instances of infection will be limited to one group and will be easily traceable. 


As many deliveries of goods and services to the Library as possible are administered without physical contact.

Gatherings outside physical premises

The Library’s security team will monitor any gatherings occurring directly outside the premises which are in breach of prevailing public health orders.  Stickers have been placed on the ground to assist with the formation of queues with appropriate physical distancing.

Education programs

Learning programs are currently all being delivered on-line.  When on-site programs resume, they will operate under the prevailing NSW Government guidelines on Schools and Childcare. 

Hygiene and cleaning

Returned items

The Library quarantines all returned library materials for 24 hours before they are returned to shelves or storage as the majority of original materials cannot be wiped down.

Hand hygiene

Hand hygiene is promoted to all Library staff, readers and visitors through signage, online communications and by Library staff.  Hand sanitiser units and antibacterial wipe dispenser have been deployed throughout the Library.

Washing hands before handling

All Library readers are encouraged to wash their hands before handling Library materials.

Face Masks

The Library is operating with comprehensive physical distancing in place and therefore does not fall within the definition from NSW Health of an environment where the wearing of masks is specifically recommended.  Library staff may choose to wear a face mask at their discretion.  The Library provides appropriate face masks for frontline staff as required. 

Hand hygiene

Hand hygiene is promoted to all Library readers and visitors through signage, online communications and by Library staff.


Bathrooms are well stocked with hand soap, paper towel dispensers and/or hot air hand driers, as well as instructions on how to wash hands properly.


The Library has established a signage system for readers and staff to indicate when they have used a desk or equipment to notify the cleaning team who will then clean it before it is used by someone else. 

Frequently touched areas and surfaces are cleaned several times per day with disinfectant solution including library computers, elevator buttons, handrails, tables, countertops, door knobs, sinks, and staff-room facilities.  All public areas are cleaned at least daily.

Plans are in place with cleaning contractors should - part of or all - the Library be required to be closed for deep cleaning following notification that a person with COVID-19 visited the premises.

Disinfectant grade

Disinfectant used by the Library’s cleaners is at an appropriate strength and used in accordance with the manufacturers’ instructions.


Library cleaning contractors have been advised to wear gloves when cleaning and to wash hands thoroughly before and after with soap.


Records of visitors

The Library strongly recommends that all entrants register their name and contact method via QR code phone scanning  or on tablets provided near Library entrances. This is to enable NSW Health to effectively notify people should there be a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the Library at the time they attended. These details will not be used for any other purpose, stored securely and confidentially for 28 days when they are then destroyed.

COVIDsafe app

A link to the Australian Government’s Health site with details for the COVIDsafe app is provided to all staff through the Intranet. This app has been developed to support contact tracing if required.

Cooperation with NSW Health

Should a person who is confirmed to have COVID-19 attend the Library, the Library will fully co-operate with NSW Health and notify SafeWork NSW.


  • Chief Operating Officer is responsible for the overall implementation of this Plan
  • Senior Advisor, Strategy and Government Relations is responsible for monitoring current NSW Health advice and amendments to Public Health Orders to update the plan accordingly
  • All Library Staff and volunteers are responsible for following the requirements of this Plan

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