The results are in! New research determines that the COVID virus is not detectable on the most common library materials after 1-3 days.
Today is an important day for libraries on our path to safely welcome staff and patrons back to using library collections in the context of COVID-19. This Spring, a key research study was designed specifically to help libraries and museums reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission by testing how long the virus survives on library collections and suggest ways to prevent exposure.
Battelle, the Ohio-based not-for-profit scientific research laboratory that conducted the study, just announced their results that the Novel Coronavirus which causes COVID-19 dissipates from the five most common library materials in 24 to 72 hours in standard temperature and humidity conditions typical to an air-conditioned office or building. These materials include book covers (hard and soft), plain paper pages inside a closed book, plastic book covering, and a DVD case.
This is very important for libraries, as the current Maine DECD checklist and Maine State Library guidance had suggested a period between 3-7 days. Portland Public Library, opting to be most certain, has been quarantining returned library materials for 7 days before handling. We will now shorten that to 3 days, which means we can check-in items sooner and pass popular items to their next patron faster.
I speak for all PPL staff and Board when I say, “We miss seeing you.” We closed our locations to the public on March 14, which feels so long ago. Our staff is working at home. We are employing multiple collaborative tools to keep in touch. And we’re constantly building access for you to a wide variety of online activities and resources. It strikes me that, while we all focus on our physical distance, we are in higher need of social connection. And that’s how the Library has always been and will always be here for you.
Last year around this time we re-introduced PPL with a new brand that says boldly, proudly, and colorfully that the Library welcomes everyone and every story: to connect, to listen, to speak. At the Library, at the center of the community, we are used to gathering, to speaking on abundant topics, in various voices, to outcomes of all sorts. The Library stands tall as a place for all of the stories and the conversations that humans must have, as a community of communities and a demanding democracy.
Right now, PPLers are involved in many conversations around the city as organizations all want to drive in the same direction towards good health, safety, and a thriving society. We extend tremendous thanks to our health and emergency response workers. We are talking with the school system about how to keep young minds stimulated. Non-profit organizations are banding together to share knowledge, test ideas, attend to staff, and advocate for supports. The Chamber of Commerce and businesses are addressing moves, combining strength, and maximizing resources and supports. Arts and cultural organizations are working in unison to offer meaningful experiences online and attend to our artists. And, of course, we are talking with our patrons who are seeking answers and inspiration.
For now, we must speak virtually. Please use our free & amazing e-books and online resources. Join the staff in virtual events (coming soon!). Keep close on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (for Teens). Ask your questions to our librarians on email or chat. Stay socially connected with others, and we will all be better for it when we can re-open physically.
Sarah Campbell (working from home)
I am very pleased to announce the arrival of the freeNew Mainer’s Guide to Greater Portland, co-published by the Greater Portland Immigrant Welcome Center (IWC) and Portland Public Library. The guidebook, now available at all PPL branches and numerous locations around the area, is a tool to help New Mainers navigate the different resources available at each phase of their integration here in Southern Maine. It is also available online at www.welcomeimmigrant.org/resources.
The Guide is divided into three major sections addressing stages of integration: Basic Needs When You Arrive, Settling Into The Community, and Economic, Social and Civic Integration. It is filled with descriptions and contact information of providers for food and shelter, legal support, health care, community organizations, education, career advancement opportunities, and more. As my partner and colleague Alain Nahimana of IWC says, “The book shares valuable information in a reliable way, compiling information about 200 support organizations in one resource that can be taken home and referred to at any time during one’s first years in Maine.” This guide is also for service providers, residents, businesses, and local governments to use to refer New Mainers to essential resources and support services.
I am so grateful for the leadership and partnership of Alain Nahimana, Damas Rugaba, and Celeste Carpenter at the IWC, the many partners and agencies providing services and supports, and PPL’s Business & Government Librarian Williams Bandoma for coordinating the Library’s role in the effort. And huge thanks to the Guide’s sponsors: Maine Technology Institute, AAA-NNE, Coastal Enterprises, Greater Portland METRO, cPort FCU, ME Initiative, Prosperity ME, Coffee by Design, Clark Insurance, Antoine’s Tailoring Shop, MEMIC, UNUM, and Mano en Mano.