On Monday the three partner organizations — IMLS, OCLC, and Battelle — that had undertaken a large study of the safety of library materials during the COVID-19 pandemic began to release preliminary results.
The preliminary results indicate “that the virus SARS-CoV-2 that causes COVID-19 is not detectable on five common library materials after three days.” This seems to lend credence to the practice of the MSU Libraries and many other libraries that the quarantining of returned library materials for three days is an effective way to mitigate the threat to library employees and library users.
The goal of the REALM Project — REopening Archives, Libraries, and Museums — is to produce science-based data and information to help mitigate exposure to this virus in libraries.
In this initial study, scientists at Battelle tested the virus on a variety of surfaces, including buckram typically used in hardcover books, the covers of paperbound books, plain paper pages inside a closed book, mylar on dust jackets, and DVD cases. “Battelle tests found the virus undetectable after one day on the covers of hardback and softback books as well as the DVD case. The virus was undetectable on the paper inside of a book and mylar book jackets after three days.”
The MSU Libraries is committed to providing safe environments for our patrons and employees. Both the Duane G. Meyer and the Haseltine Library in Greenwood routinely quarantine all returned library materials for three days.