Community transmission of the COVID-19 Omicron variant has required us to think carefully about how we build resilience into research enquiry services delivered through the Alexander Turnbull Library. We anticipate a high probability of staffing gaps over the next few weeks as the virus circulates throughout New Zealand. For this reason I have taken the decision to close our reading rooms on Mondays beginning 14th February 2022. This is so we can operate with fewer staff when COVID-19 cases impact.
Please note that the National Library building in Molesworth Street, Wellington will still be open on Mondays and advertised events will continue as permitted. Information on events, including cancellations can be found on the National Library’s website.
While we cannot predict how the Omicron outbreak will impact on staff availability, we will do everything we can to retain reading room opening hours on the remaining days of the week Tuesday (10.00am – 5.00pm) to Saturday (9.00am – 1.00pm). This contingency will help us manage the impact of COVID-19 cases on our staff and services and provide more certainty for visitors.
I encourage you to use the Ask-a-Librarian distance enquiry service wherever possible while we operate within the COVID-19 Protection Framework. We have learned from our experience of the Level 4 COVID lockdowns that we can continue to offer an online service with staff working from home. My team can provide tailored research support, accessing collection items on your behalf. They can direct you to digitised collection items and put you in touch with specialist staff with knowledge of your area of interest. Copies of documents may be able to be provided within copyright legislation or other relevant restrictions.
Our 0800 474 300 telephone can also be used during opening hours to reduce your need to visit the reading rooms in person. This is a temporary arrangement that will be reviewed at the end of each month on the basis of researcher feedback, staff availability and official COVID-19 guidance. I do apologise for any inconvenience this causes, and for the short notice of the change. Please be assured the Turnbull remains committed to delivering services within these constraints and looks forward to a full return to business in due course.
Feedback and queries relating to this change are welcome and can be directed to Information@natlib.dia.govt.
Alexander Turnbull Library