COVID-19 Safety Plan

Version: 5.4
Last Amendment: 2 February 2021
Policy owner/sponsor: Chief Operating Officer
Branch contact: Governance and Risk Specialist
Approved by: Chief Operating Officer
Date approved: 16 February 2021
Next review:    30 April 2021 or as required

PDF (152KB)


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 the specific template provided by NSW Health for libraries.

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. 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, wearing masks, 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 through other communication channels.


The operator of the Library’s café, Laissez-Faire, has a COVID-19 Safety Plan in place.

Physical distancing


Capacity must not exceed one visitor per 2 square metres of publicly accessible space. Children count towards the capacity limit. 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, which in all cases is less than one visitor per 2 square metres.


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

Physical distancing

Seating and furniture in the Library have been arranged to encourage 1.5 metres physical distancing between readers and visitors.  Markers have been placed in queuing areas to encourage the same.


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 to utilise public transport outside of peak times. Staff can take meal breaks anytime between 11 and 2.

Physical barriers and face masks

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

Face masks are recommended to be worn by visitors, staff, and contractors throughout public areas in the Library, especially when an appropriate physical distance cannot be maintained.


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

Gatherings outside premises

The Library’s security team monitors 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

The Library's Learning programs operate under the prevailing NSW Government guidelines on Schools and Childcare. 

Hygiene and cleaning

Returned items

All staff wash their hands thoroughly before and after handling returned library materials.

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 and equipment.


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.

Handwashing for cleaning

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

Air ventilation

The Library deploys optimised air-conditioning systems which maximise the intake of outside air and reduce its recirculation.

Record keeping

Records of visitors

The Library uses Service NSW’s check-in tool to record the details of all visitors upon entry. Records of the entry of staff and volunteers are captured by the Library's security system and can be provided to NSW Health to effectively notify people should there be a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the Library at the time they attended.

The Library will collect contact details of two adults for any organised group visit to the Library and keep those records for up to 28 days. The group organisers must maintain an electronic record of the name and phone number of all members, and parent or carer of any child, and be contactable at any time for a period of 28 days.

Privacy of records

Details collected from visitors are administered by Service NSW are solely used for the purposes of contact tracing.  They are stored securely and confidentially for 28 days when they are erased.

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.

COVID safe business registration

The State Library of NSW has registered as a NSW COVID Safe Business.

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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