5 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to explore the lived experiences of Australian public library staff during the COVID-19 library closures. The study examines the effect of mandated physical library closures on staff well-being, along with the challenges they faced as library operations moved to a remotely delivered model. The paper includes an examination of staff perceptions of their library's value in the lives of their users.

Design/methodology/approach: Semi-structured interviews were undertaken with 15 Australian library staff from three library networks. A process of inductive coding resulted in a thematic description of the participants' experiences of continuing to work during a period of where their libraries were closed due to COVID-19 restrictions. 

Findings: Australian public library workers experienced many challenges that affected their well-being during the period of library closures. These included challenges relating to moving library programming to a virtual delivery model, managing significant change in their work lives, managing the emotions of self and others, and concern for the well-being of library users. Positive outcomes relating to skill development and innovative thinking were also reported.

Originality/value: The operational responses to the COVID-19 library closures in Australia and elsewhere have been well reported. This paper takes a different approach by examining the emotional and well-being outcomes for public library staff during these periods of closure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)427-438
Number of pages12
JournalLibrary Management
Issue number6/7
Publication statusPublished - 17 Oct 2022


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