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)
Kristen Smith, Director of Development and External Relations
“I believe the urban library plays a crucial role as a hub of civic engagement and social justice, providing space and resources that inspire learning, imagination, awareness, conversation, warmth, and community. I am honored to join the amazing team at PPL as it constantly evolves and grows to meet the needs of the Portland community.”
We are thrilled to welcome Kristen Smith to the Portland Public Library team as our Director of Development and External Relations. She brings to PPL a lifelong love of books and community, having spent the last 25 years working in a variety of non-profit organizations specializing in fundraising, communications, and storytelling. She collaborates with staff, Boards of Directors, colleagues, and the public to effect change through creative communications, marketing, and development work. Her focus is the strategy, design, and process of engaging annual donors, potential donors, event participants, volunteers, and the community to support an organization’s mission and programs.
Kristen has extensive experience in marketing, fundraising, and communications for a variety of issues addressing multiple constituencies. She came to PPL from Maine Cancer Foundation, where she served as the Director of Community Engagement, telling the story of the Foundation’s work to end the threat of cancer in Maine, and generating support to achieve their mission. Before MCF, she spent 11 years with Maine-based Planet Dog, a designer and developer of premium dog products as the Brand Ambassador. She simultaneously served as the Executive Director of their charitable arm, the Planet Dog Foundation, administering more than $1 million in grants.
She also spent 6 years on the board of Portland Independent Business and Community Alliance, the parent organization of the Portland Buy Local initiative, chairing the Development Committee and serving as President. Her career has also included community development work in Costa Rica and Nicaragua, managing a Spanish language school in Guatemala, running a small business development program for survivors of domestic violence in Boston, advocating for civil legal rights in Massachusetts, and specialty writing for various journals and nonprofits.
Kristen was raised in Waterville, but left Maine to try living in Connecticut, Berkeley, CA, Madison, WI, Costa Rica, and Cambridge, MA. She returned to Maine for good in 2004, and now lives in Portland. She enjoys Maine’s bounty of sustainable and locally-owned businesses, locally sourced food, beer, and spirits, diverse music scene, and breathtaking places to explore with her adorable rescue dog, Lucy. She has traveled extensively throughout the world, often seeking new places to scuba dive and maintain her fluency in Spanish.