Libraries reopening from Friday 15 May

Information on Covid-19 Level 2 restrictions at libraries.

We're open!

We’d like to thank all of our customers for their support. While things won’t look the same for a while and our team may not be able to work as closely alongside you as we normally would, we’re still here to help. We’re all in this together, so please bear with us as we keep everyone safe in this environment.

All our libraries are now open, except Shirley Library is closed for refurbishment (scheduled to reopen Monday 15 June).

Our friendly FingerTip Library team is available from 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday, and 9.30am to 5pm on Saturday and Sunday to answer your library questions and help you to access our online resources. Call 03 941 7923 or live chat at Live Online.

Enjoy the books, DVDs, and magazines you have on loan. Your issues have been extended through to 15 June, so don't worry about overdues or fines. You don't need to renew anything you have borrowed either. There are also no fines being added to library items from Sunday 22 March to Monday 15 June.

  • For all information about COVID-19 visit
  • For information about Council services, facilities and events visit

Level 2 Library FAQ

What do I need to know before I visit the library?

When you visit the library, things may look different and we may not be able to work as closely alongside you as normal. However, we’d like you to know that we’ve missed you and we’re still here to help! Please be patient with the new processes in place to help keep everyone safe.  Here’s what you need to know:

  • If you feel unwell, please stay at home. Our digital library is available for you to use 24/7.
  • Not all of our libraries are going to open at the same time. Please check our website for the latest opening hours.
  • You may have to wait. We may need to restrict the number of people within library spaces at any one time as well as the duration of time spent in there.
  • Contact tracing will be in place. You’ll need to sign in and out when you visit the library.
  • We’ll have hand sanitiser available that you will need to use before you enter a library.
  • Children under 12 need to visit the library with an adult.
  • You’ll need to maintain a two-metre physical distance with our staff and customers as you enjoy the library.
  • We’ll have some screens in place to support physical distancing at some of our counters.
  • We’ve temporarily removed some shared resources that are hard to keep clean, like toys and jigsaw puzzles.
  • Regular programmes and events that you enjoy may not be happening just yet. Please check our event calendar for the latest information.
  • Our ability to help you with reference enquiries may be limited. For the first couple of weeks, our focus is likely to be on issues and returns, updating memberships, collecting information for contact tracing, and monitoring use of spaces.  Reference services are still available via FingerTip Library.

We’re looking forward to seeing you soon!

What are you doing to ensure that staff and customers are safe once libraries re-open?

The health and wellbeing of our customers and staff is our top priority. We are providing the necessary training and equipment to all staff as per our health and safety plan. We are also putting in place initiatives such as:

  • Contact tracing.
  • Personal hygiene measures as recommended by the government.
  • Monitoring and possibly restricting the number of people within library spaces at any one time, as well as the duration of time spent in there.
  • Asking customers to sign in and out.
  • Regularly emphasising the importance of frequent handwashing to all our staff, regardless of whether they have direct customer contact or not.

Why are you doing contact tracing?

Contact tracing protocols are in place for protecting Council staff, contractors, customers and visitors entering our libraries against the risk of COVID-19.

The protocols are in addition to our normal health and safety obligations and require you to register your entry and exit from this Council facility for the purposes of possible contact tracing by the Canterbury District Health Board.

How will you use and store contact tracing information?

The Council will hold the contact tracing information securely stored in the cloud for 60 days. It will only be shared with Ministry of Health or District Health Board for contact tracing purposes only. After 60 days it will be deleted. The data will not be used for any other purpose other than contact tracing. Security testing has been done on the solution to ensure data is secure and not able to be accessed by third parties.

How many people will be allowed inside a library at any one time?

We will be monitoring our library spaces to ensure that safe physical distancing can be maintained. This will look different for all libraries.

Will the mobile library be running at Level 2?

Yes, from Monday 18 May. Check the Mobile Library timetable. Please be patient as the way we work may be a bit different to support physical distancing measures.

Will Imagination Station be open at Tūranga?

Not yet. The public play area will not be open until Level 1 and Imagination Station will not be offering any further services in Tūranga at the current time.  Keep checking back, as they expect to review the option of running classes in Tūranga shortly.              

Will cafes in libraries able to open?

We’re delighted that cafes in libraries will be able to open at Level 2, provided that they are able to put appropriate physical distancing measures in place. Please consider supporting these local businesses when you visit the library.

Borrowing and returns FAQ

I joined the library online during lockdown. Can I borrow books now?

Joining online gives customers free, 24/7 access to our wonderful digital library. If you’d like to borrow physical items, like books, you’ll need a library card. We can help! Just come into any open library with ID and proof of address. Find out more about our membership types.

Can I return my books now?

We’ve extended the loan period on all borrowed items to 15 June to give you plenty of time to return them. At Level 2, you’ll be able to return your items through the returns slot of any open library. To help us manage returns across the city, we’re asking customers to return items to their nearest library.

Are you quarantining returned items?

No. We are following best practice guidelines issued by SOLGM (Society of Local Government Managers) and the Head of COVID-19 Response Unit. These guidelines were developed after consultation with Ministry of Health, LIANZA (Library and Information Association New Zealand Aotearoa), National Library of New Zealand, and PLNZ (Public Libraries New Zealand).  As the risk of transmission from library returns is very low, we will be following our standard practice of discharging and shelving items as soon as they are returned.

Will I be fined if I can’t return my items by 15 June?

We have waived the fines on library items that would have been due between 22 March and 18 May. These items have all been extended through to 15 June. Returning these items after that date may result in a fine. If you’re worried that you may not be able to return your items in time, please get in touch with us on (03) 941 7923. 

Once libraries reopen, we will return to issuing items for the usual loan periods, and fines may be charged if items are returned late.

Are you waiving fines for items borrowed after libraries re-open?

Once libraries reopen, we will return to issuing items for the usual loan periods, and fines may be charged if items are returned late.

I had fines due for late/lost items before 22 March. Do I still have to pay them?


How do I make payment for my hold, fine or other library charge?

You can make contactless payment at one of our self-serve kiosks in open libraries. For other payment options, please contact our FingerTip Library on (03) 941 7923.

I would prefer to not touch the library self-serve kiosks.  Can library staff help me borrow books/pay fines etc.?

Yes, library staff will be able to assist with borrowing and payments

Do I need to wash my hands after touching library books?

You should sanitise your hands when you enter the library. We also encourage you to wash and dry your hands/use hand sanitiser when using library items at home for the first couple of days after issue, if you are concerned.

I placed a hold before the libraries closed. When can I collect it?

You can collect the hold from your designated library once the library reopens and you have received a notice to say it is available for you to collect.

I received a notice before the library closed to say I had a hold waiting for me.  Is it still available for me to pick up? 

Yes. Your hold will be kept for you up to one week after the library reopens.

I’ve got a hold waiting at a library that’s still closed. Can I have it moved to an open library?

We realise that you have been waiting some time for your item but, unfortunately, closed libraries will not have staff on site to make this happen. Your hold will be kept for you up to one week of the library reopening.

Library services and facilities FAQ

I miss borrowing books, but would prefer to not visit libraries just yet. Are you able to start a home delivery service?

We appreciate that some of our customers may not be able to visit our libraries immediately once they re-open. We are happy to provide you with some books if a family member or friend offers to come to the library with your membership card and collect them. 

Will you re-start book deliveries to rest homes?

We’ll be in touch with the rest homes we normally visit to check whether they’d like us to re-start our delivery service.

Are the public computers available?

Yes. Some computers will be available for public use so long as physical distancing between you and the next person is maintained. Time limits may be in place to ensure fair access for customers. Computers and keyboards will be regularly cleaned.  

What are you doing to clean the self-serve kiosks?

Self-serve kiosks will be cleaned regularly with proper equipment. Hand sanitiser will also be available at or near kiosks for customers to use before and after touching the screens.

With physical distancing rules, can I still use the Book a Librarian service?

We’re currently offering Librarian in Your Lounge as a phone service only. In addition to our usual support, we’re thrilled to now be able to offer this to our Chinese speaking customers as well, staffed by friendly Mandarin speaking librarians. You can book a free 30 minute slot.

What do I do if I require family history, local history or whakapapa research assistance?

If you have an enquiry about family, local history or whakapapa research that you’d normally ask staff on Tuakiri | Identity, Level 2, Tūranga, please make an appointment using our Book a Librarian service.

Are the 3D printers and laser cutter available?

Our 3D printers and laser cutter are currently not available for in-library use. You are able to order 3D prints of your own design here.

What hours will the FingerTip Library Call Centre be operating? 

We’re pleased to let you know that our friendly FingerTip Team is now available for longer hours. The team is available to help between 8am–6pm Monday to Friday and 9.30am–5pm Saturday and Sunday.

Will the digital library still be running once libraries re-open?

Yes. Digital content will remain available 24/7. 

Some of your family history programmes – like were made available outside of libraries. Will that continue?

To support our family history buffs, we’ve arranged to extend remote access of and Find Your Past until the end of May. From 1 June, access will be available in libraries only.

Are Justices of the Peace and Citizens Advice Bureau available?

Justice of the Peace (JPs) will not be back in libraries until Level 1. Citizens Advice Bureau sessions have not yet resumed.

Is the A/V Studio at Tūranga available?

The Audio/Visual studio in Turanga is currently unavailable for customer use due to health and safety requirements around the use of equipment. This is due to be reviewed very soon, and will change dependant on the government requirements announced on Monday, 25 May. 

Programme and Event FAQs

Will you be running programmes and events at Level 2?

We will be running some programmes and events at Level 2 where we are confident that we can safely manage physical distancing and contact tracing. Find the latest information on our event calendar. This will include information on how to book your place, if needed.

Will Babytimes and Storytimes be running at Level 2?

As we are unable to ensure safe physical distancing at Babytimes and Storytimes sessions, we are currently not offering these programmes in libraries. However we’re delighted to be able to offer online Storytimes and Babytimes videos featuring our children’s librarians.

Will afterschool programmes start again at Level 2?

Certain afterschool clubs and activities will restart in some libraries. Find the latest information on our event calendar at

Libraries often hold events where a large number of people attend, for instance during Matariki.  Will you be doing that this year?

For the time being, we’ve made the decision to cancel events expected to attract over 50 people or where available space may compromise health and safety compliance. We’ll keep monitoring advice from the government and look forward to re-scheduling our larger events when we can.

I had a library venue booked for an event that I now want to cancel because of physical distancing. Can I get a refund?

Please contact our team on (03) 941 7923 to discuss your situation.

Closure FAQ

Are our libraries closed?

The health and wellbeing of our community and staff is our priority, along with supporting the city to function. All of our libraries will remain closed during Levels 3 and 4 of the COVID-19 alert system.

Does that mean libraries will re-open at Level 2?

When the country has moved to an appropriate alert level and when we are confident that it is safe to do so, our libraries will open gradually. Tūranga will be our first library to open, followed by larger libraries in the different regions of the city and then eventually our smaller libraries. The health and safety of our customers and staff is a top priority and we’ll advise you closer to the time of processes put in place to help ensure this.

Will I have access to books while the libraries are closed?

Unfortunately we cannot provide access to our print collections during the closure period. We’re encouraging people to use our online services available through the library website. If you are having problems accessing our digital service please contact the Fingertip Library.  If you would like help choosing your next great read, we can help! Get in touch with us.

Have you thought about a home delivery service once we leave Level 4?

We appreciate that some of our older customers may not be able to visit our libraries once they re-open. To support them, we are evaluating whether we could safely operate a limited home delivery service for customers aged 70 and above. We will let you know as soon as more detail is available

What happens if I have items on loan?

Enjoy the books, DVDs, and magazines you have on loan. Your issues have been  extended until 15 June.  There are no fines being added to library items during this period.

Will I be fined if I can’t return my items by the due date?

We will be waiving all fines for library items that would otherwise have been incurred between 22 March and 15 June.

Can I still access the digital services?

You will still be able to access our online services 24/7 through our library website.

What do I do if I want to return an item during the closure period?

Please retain your items until further notice.

Can I sign up to a library membership online during the closure period?

Yes, you are able to sign up for a library membership online. This will allow you to access our digital online services.

I had an event booked at one of your libraries. Will this still be able to go ahead?

All in-library events are cancelled due to facility closures. We will be in touch with you to discuss your booking further.

Do you have any events or programmes running online?

We have moved some of our in-library programming online such as Babytimes and Storytimes. We’ll be adding to these regularly, so keep checking for the latest details.

Will the FingerTip Library Call Centre stay open?

Yes. Our friendly FingerTip Team is available 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday and 10am to 2pm Saturday to Sunday to answer your library questions and help you to access our online resources. Call 03 941 7923 or live chat at

I normally have items delivered to me from your library. Will I still be able to access this service?

We are stopping our regular delivery services during Levels 3 and 4 of the COVID-19 Alert System.

Will the libraries used by schools e.g Upper Riccarton and Akaroa libraries be closed?

All of our libraries will remain closed during Levels 3 and 4 of the COVID-19 Alert System.

What do I do if I have research queries?

You can contact our Fingertip Library Call Centre who may be able to assist you.

Get information and advice about COVID-19

For all health advice on COVID-19, and information on when to call Healthline, visit the Ministry of Health website

The Government has created an online portal where you can access up to date COVID-19 information across a range of agencies, including links to financial support for businesses and self-employed.

Christchurch City Council response to COVID-19

For information on the impact Coronavirus is having locally visit Newsline.