State Library reopens - Welcome home

Monday 18 May 2020
  • State Library reopens today
  • 20 people at one time for one hour at a time
  • Comprehensive COVID safety plan in place

The State Library of Western Australia has today (May 18) reopened its doors to the public after being closed for 56 days.

But while the doors have been shut, the Library has never really been closed.

In fact, while the doors were closed a record number of new members joined the Library. At the same time, the State Library instituted a range of new services.

New initiatives included:

  • Mystery Box - 2,000 requests for a mystery box of books were made online. The books were safely picked up via a safe drive-through process;
  • Internet for the vulnerable - recognising that vulnerable members of the community would not have access to the internet with the closure of the Library, a service was activated enabling people to engage with government online, apply for work, and to remain in contact with family and friends;
  • Better Beginnings from Home - twice a day, families at home with young children could access a link to great online stories and activities mostly created in-house by the Library's Better Beginnings team;
  • Digitisation on Demand - recognising the ongoing need for researchers to have access to Western Australian heritage materials, the Library put in place a facility for researchers to request items from the catalogue to be digitised and made available online; and
  • Promotion of free e-Resources - together with promotion, the State Library increased funding for online resources available from home. The result was a dramatic increase in the use of these resources with the number of downloads doubling from March to April.

In line with Government advice, the Library will initially welcome 20 clients at a time for one hour at a time.

The State Library has a comprehensive COVID Safety Plan in place to ensure client safety, including the cleaning of computer keyboards after every use. Books used and returned will be quarantined for 24 hours before they are made available again.

Comments attributed to Culture and the Arts Minister David Templeman:

"The silver lining to being closed was that the State Library, like most libraries, had to innovate.

"It had to work on new ways to serve the public, and I am proud of what it achieved.

"Libraries are more than books; they are meeting places, they are places which break down the digital divide, they are safe places - so I am very happy that we are in a position to reopen the State Library.

"I urge all local governments to also open their local libraries."

Minister's office - 6552 5400

Media statement originally published on 

Last updated on: 19 May 2020