I am delighted to be able to let you know that parts of the State Library of NSW will reopen to the public on Monday 1 June.
What has become abundantly clear over these past eight weeks is just how loved and valued libraries are, and this time apart has been tough on all of us.
As always, the health and safety of our staff, readers and visitors is our top priority so we will be fully complying with the NSW Health guidelines to protect everyone who comes through our doors.
We will be reopening our two main reading rooms (in the Macquarie St building and Mitchell building) from 1 June on a limited basis, without access to the collections. Initially we will be operating from 10 am to 6 pm from Monday to Friday. With physical distancing protocols in place, we will be able to accommodate up to 100 people (including staff) in each reading room. This will allow people to study, use the free wi-fi or one of our computers.
We will be introducing an online booking system, with two x 3.5 hour sessions each day (10 am to 1.30 pm and 2.30 pm to 6 pm). This system will allow us to best manage our capacity and undertake a full clean between each session.
The Library Cafe will open on 1 June for takeaway and will comply with the 10-person limit as per NSW Health orders.
We will be reviewing and progressively increasing reading room services and opening hours, and opening other parts of the Library, such as the bookshop and venue hire spaces, when we are confident it is safe to do so. We are hoping to reopen our galleries in July with some exciting new exhibitions. Public programs and learning activities will continue to be delivered online for the time being.
We urge everyone to be patient as we slowly transition back to being a fully functioning library.
It’s timely that the decision to reopen libraries is announced as we head into Library and Information Week (25–31 May). The theme this year is ‘create’ and it has been fantastic to see all the innovative and creative ways libraries have been supporting their communities through the pandemic.
Since the shutdown thousands of people have connected with their State and public libraries online for the first time, with over 20,000 new memberships recorded.
We hope to see many new faces visiting us onsite in the weeks and months ahead.
Dr John Vallance
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