COVID-19 pandemic: A statement from NSLA’s Chair

While most of us are still grappling with the magnitude of the sudden changes to our lives as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the vital contribution of libraries to our communities has never been more evident.

From homes across the country, Australians are seeking information, education, entertainment and connection. Those who weren’t already regular users of our national, state and territory libraries are discovering the plethora of resources available to them for free, anywhere, any time. Whether they wish to study a school text or escape into an ebook, explore newspapers past, peruse beautiful photographic collections, interrogate scientific papers, find educational activities for the kids, browse an online exhibition or listen to a sound recording.

Over the last decade, NSLA libraries have invested heavily in digital service delivery, working together and dedicating sometimes limited time and resources to the provision of reliable online enquiry services, electronic copy services, learning activities, research guides, and a wealth of digital resources including books, journals, photographs, music, maps, newspapers, magazines, family history materials and of course our extraordinary digitised heritage collections. These resources are available to all through our library catalogues as well as through the national discovery service, Trove.

This year, our libraries have already weathered bushfire, smoke and storms. We have demonstrated our versatility, adaptability and resilience. Now in the midst of a global pandemic, the numbers of registered library users are skyrocketing. From our homes and workplaces to theirs, we will continue to provide the highest quality digital services to meet their needs.

Thank you to the hundreds of dedicated staff in every state and territory of Australia who are making this possible. Our doors may be closed for now, but NSLA libraries are very much open.

Dr Marie-Louise Ayres
Chair, National and State Libraries Australia
Director-General, National Library of Australia

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