Post by Janette Shaffer on Handling Materials - 3/13/20 at 10:30 am
Handling of Materials
There have been many questions on the listservs about the lifespan of COVID-19 on objects such as books, courier bins, and courier bags. Unfortunately, at this time there are more questions than answers available. We recommend you follow any recommendations that come from the Vermont Department of Health and the CDC. They are monitoring the situation closely and issuing updates throughout the day, every day. At this time, we suggest libraries observe the following guidelines:
- Frequent handwashing, and avoid touching your face
- Regularly disinfect objects and features touched by many patrons - doorknobs, handrails, circulation counters, computers, copier, telephone, etc.
- Store items that cannot easily be disinfected (toys, stuffed animals)
While there are no specific guidelines released about books, the CDC has indicated that the virus can live on plastic for a few days (in ideal lab conditions). Precautions that could be taken include disinfecting books as they are returned, wearing gloves if handling a large number of books, and having staff or volunteers who are members of at-risk populations not handle large quantity book returns.
Service Suspension and Closures
Please look at the at-risk populations in your town, your staff, and your volunteers, and make decisions on closing or suspending programming or services based on the available reliable information and on your community.
The listservs have shown that librarians in Vermont are thinking of creative and innovative ways to continue services while keeping their staff, volunteers, and patrons as safe as possible. Please remember that you can ask for advice and work with fellow librarians. The listservs are there as a source of support and advice.
We will continue to update our COVID-19 resource page as we get new information. Thank you for your care and concern, and for the work you do in our communities.