The decision was made unanimously during a video conference of more than 200 members and non-members of the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) on March 25, and followed Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s announcement that libraries and other cultural institutions would be closed from midnight on March 25.
Librarians were concerned that TAFE institutions could not guarantee safety measures, such as maintaining full social distancing and sanitising computers and other equipment.
They will continue to come to work to support students and teachers using various forms of online and non face-to-face technologies.
TAFE management initially opposed the closures and tried to force the issue on some campuses. But library staff remained united and, at a meeting with the CPSU on March 25, newly appointed TAFE managing director Steffen Faurby conceded the issue.
Apart from nursing and aged care courses, all TAFE courses have been paused from March 30 to start the shift to online teaching and coursework.
CPSU NSW assistant secretary Troy Wright said TAFE could not justify stopping classes, but keeping libraries open.
"When it comes to stopping the spread of COVID-19 we have to be all in”, Wright said.