The LIANZA Office joined Jacinda in doing a happy dance when we heard the announcement that there are no active cases of COVID-19 in the country.

What does Level 1 mean for your library?

Libraries around New Zealand can now return to relative normalcy. Libraries will no longer be required to provide a manual sign-in for customers under Alert Level 1. However, they are being urged to continue to display QR code posters at the entry of premises, so people can scan in and can keep a record for themselves. The Prime Minister said on Monday 'We are asking all businesses and services where the public visit or enter to provide people the opportunity to maintain their own diaries of where they’ve been.'

At Level 1 there are no controls on businesses and services, gatherings, physical distancing, sport and recreation. However, libraries should remain vigilant and prepared, as the PM said: 'There is still a global pandemic going on. People and businesses should be prepared to act fast to step up alert levels if we have to.'

Library staff should still:

  • Regularly wash and dry their hands or use an alcohol based hand sanitiser
  • Avoid touching their face, particularly while handling returned items
  • Cough or sneeze into their elbow and wash and dry hands or use hand sanitiser after blowing their nose
  • Stay home if they are sick
  • With good hand hygiene, shared staff equipment does not need to be wiped between use, but equipment and high touch surfaces in the library should be regularly cleaned throughout the day

Library users should be encouraged to (consider signage as appropriate):

  • Not enter the facility if they are unwell
  • Use hand sanitiser on entering the library
  • Cough or sneeze into their elbow and wash and dry hands or use hand sanitiser after blowing their nose
  • Use the contact tracing app to scan the library QR code

Collectively, the library and information sector rose to meet this challenge, as we have risen to other challenges before, by sharing insights, knowledge, and practical help. Great work!

New Zealand libraries and other organisations should continue to be guided by their host organisations who in turn take advice from their local DHB and Ministry of Health.


If you find useful resources – please send to so it can be added to this page.



Pregnant women and children

Explaining COVID 19 to children and teenagers

  • Kids Health for Nemours
    Kids Health has information on COVID-19 for children in English and Spanish and available in audio. Other sections of their website have information for parents.
  • LittlePuddins Blog
    lLittle Puddins Blog has a nice, English language "Coronavirus Social Story."
  • BrainPOP
    BrainPOP has a surprisingly entertaining, at time humorous, basic explanation of COVID-19 and needed precautions for primary-age children and young teens.
  • NPR's Goats and Soda
    Basic information for youth in a graphic format that can be read in the Blog or downloaded and folded into a zine.

ALA Member Digest March 16
Thanks to Carrie Banks, Supervising Librarian, Inclusive Services, Brooklyn Public Library, President Elect, ASGCLA for these links.

Resources From Siouxsie Wiles

Associate Professor Siouxsie Wiles has written a good explanation on How testing for COVID-19 works. She has also offered some context around a couple of new studies on COVID19. They were able to detect viable virus for up to four hours on copper, up to 24 hours on cardboard, and up to two to three days on plastic and stainless steel. Siouxsie has also written about the most effective ways to clean surfaces.


As mentioned in earlier communications from the LIANZA Office, Associate Professor Siouxsie Wiles has offered some context around a couple of new studies on COVID19. They were able to detect viable virus for up to four hours on copper, up to 24 hours on cardboard, and up to two to three days on plastic and stainless steel. Siouxsie has also written about the most effective ways to clean surfaces.

You might want to consider creating more space between workstations and more regular cleaning of surfaces such as: books, touchscreens, computer mice and keyboards, chairs and tables, door handles, toys, musical instruments. You may also want to consider restricting the use of some of these things if the situation worsens.

LIANZA has been in contact with Dr Wiles for more specific advice around handling books and she has responded:

Given the virus lasts for up to 3 days on surfaces, one strategy would be to put books into a three-day 'quarantine' between being put back into circulation. It's advisable to wipe down covers if that is possible too.

Dr Siouxsie Wiles, MNZM, is a microbiologist and science communicator based in New Zealand. Her specialist areas are infectious diseases and bioluminescence. She is the head of University of Auckland's Bioluminescent Superbugs Lab.

More advice from ALIA:

Library books carry similar risks to any other surface which comes into contact with the COVID-19 virus. US researchers from a number of specialist centres in American universities found that the Covid-19 virus can survive for up to 24 hours on cardboard: "We found that viable virus could be detected in aerosols up to 3 hours post aerosolization, up to 4 hours on copper, up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to 2-3 days on plastic and stainless steel." This research suggests that if libraries are concerned about the safety of returned books, there is less risk 24 hours after they have been returned. Another study recently published in the Journal of Hospital Infection (March 2020) has also found that various coronaviruses linked to COVID-19 can persist on surfaces, including paper, metal and glass, for 4-5 days, and can remain infectious on inanimate surfaces for up to 9 days.

Library users should be encouraged to follow good hygiene practices, especially thorough hand-washing, when handling books or any shared objects in the library. Library staff should be sanitising surfaces such as table tops, handles, and PC keyboards regularly.

Virtual Reality (VR) headsets have also been flagged as a risk. Libraries may wish to postpone this service for the time being. [LIANZA Office also recommend you think about touch screens]