Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for Libraries ACT trial Mystery Box delivery service

The Mystery Box delivery service is a trial service offering a new way to access library resources, literary relief and a positive mental/stress relief option for the Canberra community affected by COVID-19.

As a new trial service, there will likely be many questions. We hope the questions and answers below help, but if you don't find the answers here, please email us at or call our helpline on 6207 7265.

Who is Mystery Box for?

We’re looking for Canberrans to be the first to trial this service and give feedback. Because this is a trial, there will be a limited number of places available.

Mystery Box is for Canberra residents whose access to the library is currently impacted by COVID-19 restrictions and can’t visit the library at the moment. There are people affected by COVID-19 in ways we cannot know and may include for example, someone unable to leave their home for health reasons, or a single parent stuck at home with young children.

Library branches are open regular hours, and if you can visit in person and make your own selections, please do, so that the trial can be used by those who most need it.

When does the trial start and end?

Registrations for the Mystery Box trial open from 21 August 2020. The first deliveries are expected to be made from the end of August, and the trial will run until June 2021.

What will be in each Mystery Box and how long can I keep them?

Each Mystery Box will have up to 10 items from your preferred genre, with a maximum weight of 5 kg. You can ask for DVDs of the same genre to be included as well as books. Information about providing feedback, as well as a printed feedback survey will also be included in the box.

You will have 4 weeks to enjoy each Mystery Box you receive.

Please keep the box that items are delivered in and pack the items back into the same box for collection.

Please do not return the items to the library yourself.

Who will deliver and collect the Mystery Box?

Libraries ACT is employing 10 staff through Jobs for Canberra specially to provide the trial Mystery Box delivery service.

Delivery and collection will be contactless and done at different times to help be COVID Safe.

Please do not return the items to the library yourself.

How much does Mystery Box cost?

The Mystery Box trial is a free service to those in the community who need it.

Library books being borrowed through Mystery Box are all from the library’s collections.

The cost of employing the 10 staff to provide the Mystery Box delivery service is covered by the Jobs for Canberra scheme.

Can I register for the Mystery Box trial if I don’t live in the ACT?

No. The trial is only available to residents of the ACT.

Will there be a waitlist available for those who are unable to register due to the trial reaching its capacity?

No, simply because this is a trial.

Can more than one person in my household register to receive a Mystery Box?         

Yes, more than one person per household can register.

Can I request more than one genre?

We will only be providing one genre per delivery, across print and DVD format. When you register you will be asked to indicate the genre that you are interested in.

Can I order specific books?

No, this trial is for a mystery box filled with hand-picked, surprise items. If you’d like to request specific books, please visit our website and place a reservation, which you can then pick up from one of our open branches.

How long will the loan period be?  

You will be able to enjoy the items in your Mystery Box for 4 weeks. We will then collect it and a new one will be delivered, which you can then enjoy for another 4 weeks before we come to pick it up.

Can I swap books if I have read them before or otherwise find them of no interest?

No, as part of the trial you will get a second box after the first month. We will ensure that the second box has different items from your first Mystery Box selection.

What happens if I am not home when my Mystery Box is delivered?

We will let you know what day to expect the delivery. If you are not home at the time of delivery, your Mystery Box will be left in the safest place possible.

Should I keep the box that my items are delivered in?

Yes. Please keep the box that the items have been delivered in and pack the items back into the same box for pick up.

Am I able to keep my first delivery box and still receive my second box?

No. It is a requirement of this service that an exchange is made, and the first box is collected before the second box is delivered. If you have any comments to make regarding this process, please include it on the feedback survey.

How do I return items? / Can I return items from my box to a branch? / How and when will my Mystery Box be collected?        

As this is a delivery service, our dedicated couriers will collect your Mystery Box at the end of each 4 week period of the trial.

Please keep the box the items have been delivered in and pack the items back into the same box for pick up.

Please do not return the items to a branch yourself.

Is it safe to borrow items from the library?

Library items have similar risks to any other item that comes into contact with COVID-19. You should follow good hygiene practices, such as washing your hands regularly with soap and water or alcohol-based sanitiser for 20 to 30 seconds, especially when handling shared objects like library items.

Items that are returned will be put aside for a period of quarantine before they can be borrowed again. You may notice that items will not be automatically removed from your membership. This is to help manage the flow on processes that normally occur when items are returned.

If you have concerns, we encourage you to use our digital resources.

How will I provide feedback?

This is the most important part of the trial. We want to hear from you about what worked well, what didn’t work well, what you loved, and what could be improved.

There will be options to provide feedback on a printed survey or online survey. Please make sure you only complete the surveys using one of these methods.

If you become a participant in this trial, we will send you more details about what is required when providing feedback.