The National Library of Latvia resuming on-site reader services

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Photo by Kristians Luhaers
Photo by Kristians Luhaers

In accordance with Ministry of Culture (MoC) guidelines for epidemiologically safe operations, the National Library of Latvia (NLL) has resumed on-site reader services. At any one time, 135 readers will be able to be on the NLL premises, with free access to all library levels, reading rooms and exhibition halls. On-site services will currently only be provided to individual visitors or members of the same household for study and research purposes. At the same time, readers will continue to have access to all the remote services (such as digital resources, consultation and training on the Zoom platform, a wide-ranging array of online events) that the Library has provided throughout the pandemic.

In accordance with epidemiological safety requirements, the number of work stations has been reduced in all reading rooms, providing at least 25m2 of space per reader in every reading room. When visiting the National Library of Latvia, it is mandatory to wear a face mask and maintain a distance of 2m from other persons. Whether or not readers have been vaccinated does not affect their access to the library. Thanks to the support of the National Health Service, NLL staff have undergone collective vaccination against COVID-19 (performed by Veselības centrs 4). To date, about 80% of our team have received both doses of vaccine, but some staff contracted the virus and have recovered.

1. Coming to the Library

1.1. You must make a reservation in order to visit reading rooms and individual work spaces:

1.2. NLL opening hours from 16 June until 31 August:

Mon. 10.00–15.00 NLL open for viewing, including exhibitions and the building gable on Levels 11 and 12. Reading rooms closed
Tue., Thur. 9.00 to 17.00
Wed., Fri. 12.00 to 20.00
Sat. 10.00 to 17.00
Sun. closed

1.3. Friends' Room – store opening hours:

Mon. 11.00 to 15.00
Tue. 11.00 to 16.00
Wed. 12.00 to 17.00
Thur. 11.00 to 16.00
Fri. 12.00 to 16.00
Sat., Sun. closed

1.4. The restaurant and café are currently closed.

1.5. The Latvian Folklore Repository is closed during summer.

2. Epidemiological safety

2.1. The NLL will ensure continuous control of the number of readers in the building in order to prevent overcrowding and to ensure compliance with 2m social distancing.

2.2. The Library will not provide services to persons not complying with epidemiological safety requirements, including not wearing a face mask and not maintaining 2m social distancing.

2.3. Visitors with symptoms of respiratory infectious diseases, as well as those who have been prescribed self-isolation, home quarantine or strict isolation, are requested not to visit the Library. The Library has the right to deny access to persons with symptoms of respiratory infectious disease or to require them to leave.

2.4. Visitors are provided with all safety measures for hand hygiene: hand sanitizers are available in the atrium, in all reading rooms and by multifunctional equipment. Visitors can wash their hands in the toilets on all Levels.

2.5. All rooms are cleaned and surfaces disinfected once a day; handles, railings, public toilets, cloakroom locker doors and handles and individual reading room booths are cleaned and disinfected once every three hours.

2.6. The Library building is equipped with a climate and ventilation control system, ensuring continuous air quality monitoring.

3. Events

With the reopening of the NLL, exhibitions and other events will gradually become available for visitors. From 16 June, the Books in Latvia permanent exhibition will be open (up to nine people can visit at one time), as well as two new exhibitions Latvia's Woman of the Century (up to four people) and Beethoven. Orbits (up to nine people), as will previously established exhibitions: The Castle of Light and the Glass Mountain; A Letter from Cupid; Archive of Lines; Boriss Bērziņš. Pages; Latvian Military Cartography; The Book Flood.

4. The NLL's attainments during the pandemic

A year of living with the pandemic has facilitated changes in library operations, the acquisition of new skills, opportunities to organise the processing of large-scale collections and other librarianship processes more conveniently, as well as, for example, improvements in building management and technologies. It is important that the NLL's fundamental services have continued uninterrupted since March 2020, what is more ways have been found to provide them remotely. The following activities and attainments in particular – which will significantly improve the quality and variety of services provided in the future – are worthy of highlighting:

  • a licensing agreement was concluded with AKKA/LAA to provide free access to the full content of the National Digital Library of Latvia periodical and book portals, which has seen the number of visits to these portals double;
  • a EUR 300 000 book acquisition programme for public libraries, supported by the MoC, was implemented;
  • organising and online streaming of events (conferences, lectures, discussions, concerts, etc.) from the NLL's newly established TV studio;
  • the collection supplemented with valued publications, digitisation, research into the open-access collection, in-depth evaluation of the reserve collection, publications re-coded and shelves reorganised, also large donations to the collection (Rīga German Theatre Archive, J. Stradiņš Library, Saeima (Parliament) transcripts, Valentīna Freimane archive) processed;
  • the 20th anniversary of the Jury of Children, Young People and Parents reading promotion programme has been reached and almost EUR 200 000 received as support jointly from the MoC and the Ministry of Education and Science;
  • prepared an online educational programme for museum teachers (work materials, lessons, workshops, digital breakout game);
  • the range of informal education programmes was supplemented and the formal programme continued (80 people received a Librarian's certificate);
  • new services created on the Zoom platform: online consultations on the collection, and training on information searches in NLL resources;
  • Ziedonis Hall and stage floors were restored, and carpets replaced in the Conference Centre;
  • wooden tables in reading rooms have been covered with polycarbonate sheets so that they can be disinfected without damaging the wood;
  • updating of the content of the Books in Latvia permanent exposition and installation of a new display started;
  • the NLL podcast Klausītava (Listening Room) was launched, as was a separate series around the Books in Latvia exposition;
  • a complete inventory of the almost 10 000-unit collection of standard posters taken, as well as the numbers of full descriptions (around 2 500 catalogue entries) and digitised graphic productions (around 2 500 items) increased;
  • Large-scale CD digitisation undertaken.

Order No 1.1-2/34 (14.06.2021.) On the resumption of on-site services for readers and visitors (PDF)


Information prepared by:
Augusts Zilberts
Public Relations Manager
National Library of Latvia
Phone: +371 26472501