COVID-19 has presented a considerable challenge for NSW public libraries, however it became clear very early in the pandemic that libraries were adaptable and innovative and were endeavouring to continue to serve their communities.
The State Library noted that library use in NSW increased remarkably during the Global Financial Crisis of 2007/08. This extraordinary usage continued for 2 years after the GFC, likely as a result of higher unemployment, and because people had less disposable income. The economic effects of COVID-19 are predicted to be worse than those of the GFC.
This unfolding situation, and likely medium-term effects for libraries, prompted the State Library to scope research into how public libraries are coping and adapting, with a view to assisting libraries and advising the government on the response and needs.