Quarantining Items

Update (11/3/20) - With encouragement from Dr. Kelso, state epidemiologist, we are sharing the AOE and VDH joint guidance on book quarantining in schools in their publication A STRONG AND HEALTHY START Safety and Health Guidance for Reopening Schools, Fall 2020. On page 24, they state that “Library books may be used immediately upon return, without removing from circulation.”

We are sharing this information so that you can weigh it, along with existing study results (e.g. REALM study), when making your own determination on quarantining materials. VTLIB will continue to forward recommendations from recognized and legitimate experts to assist you in making your decisions. A reminder that each Vermont public library has the power to make decisions on if and how to provide services for its local community under the advisement of the library board and stakeholders such as the municipality and community leaders, if applicable. Libraries should weigh the potential vulnerability of members of their library community, staff, and participating volunteers when deciding how to proceed.

Update (9/16/20) - There are a lot of questions regarding how quarantine has been affecting loan periods for patrons. With delays in shipping and the variations in quarantines, and no scientific answers about a definite quarantine recommendation, I want to share what VTLIB is doing to help make sure that patrons have resources in their hands for an appropriate amount of time. With the latest Battelle study (https://www.webjunction.org/news/webjunction/test4-results.html) showing that the virus can live on stacked hardcover books for six or more days, there have also been questions about the quarantine period and how to deal with returns safely. I am going to share what we are doing for quarantine, but I want you to make decisions for your communities based on your own comfort level with the process, with the science, and what works best in your libraries.

Checkout Periods:
Starting September 16, VTLIB extended our loan periods. Previously set for 30 days with multiple renewals, we are now setting the initial checkout period for 60 days. We will still offer renewals as long as the item has not been placed on hold.

Our quarantine steps:

Our quarantine process will look a bit different as we do not have a book drop and all of our items come back via USPS or courier.

Courier Items

  • Unpacking the bin:
    • Wash hands.
    • Bring the bin up to the mail room.
    • Put on gloves and unpack the items in the bin, place on a shelf on the book cart. Leave the books in the bags, just put everything on the shelf.
    • Remove gloves and throw in the trash.
    • Write the date the items were unpacked on a post it and stick on the book cart shelf.
    • Wash hands.
  • After the items have been left on the book cart for 4 days
  • Wash hands.
  • Remove all of the books and items from the bags, put the bags in the cupboards and the items on the counter.
  • Check in any items that are returns, these can now be shelved.
  • Put any items that are State Employee requests out to be processed.
  • Wipe down the mail room counter, book cart shelf, and the computer mouse/keyboard with disinfecting wipe.
  • Wash hands.

Mail Items

  • When items have arrived:
    • Wash hands.
    • Put on gloves.
    • Move all mailed items to the book cart for quarantining, leave items in the mailer envelopes.
    • Remove gloves and throw in the trash.
    • Write the date the items were unpacked on a post it and stick on the book cart shelf.
  • After the items have been left on the book cart for 4 days
  • Wash hands.
  • Remove all items from the mailers, put any mailers in reusable shape on the shelves, put all the items on the counter.
  • Check in any items that are returns, these can now be shelved.
  • Put any items that are State Employee requests out to be processed.
  • Wipe down the mail room counter, book cart shelf, and the computer mouse/keyboard with disinfecting wipe.
  • Wash hands.

If you have questions about navigating interlibrary loan or book return processing, please contact April Shaw.