Monday, June 22, 2020
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.
This study is the first phase of the Reopening Archives, Libraries, and Museums (REALM) Project, a collaborative effort amongst Battelle, the Institute of Museum and Library Services which provides federal funding to museum and libraries, OCLC which is a nonprofit global cooperative serving libraries with shared technology and research, and the Columbus (OH) Metropolitan Library. Subsequent phases will continue to refine the research, update reviews of other research, and provide toolkits to libraries.
Libraries are one of the few inclusive public spaces where everyone is welcome to access library materials, public computers and to be a creative learner. As Portland Public Library’s new Social Worker in Residence, I look forward to drawing on both my educational and professional experiences to work collectively with library staff on becoming a more trauma-informed and trauma-sensitive space.
I have over 18 years of experience helping people access food, housing, and healthcare and working with people experiencing substance use, mental illness, and poverty. I enjoy putting my social work skills to use and working with communities on program development, outreach, and engagement, and relationship building all with a trauma-informed and strengths-based perspective.
Library patrons experiencing homelessness have very few places to seek refuge during the day. The Portland Public Library is a safe, quiet, welcoming space that is open to all. Many people go to the library when they don’t know where else to go. I hope to be that person who can listen to people’s stories, provide answers to their questions, and help connect them to the social services and resources in the community that will meet their needs.
Michelle Lamm, MSW, received her Master in Social Work from Boston University in 2000. Before joining the PPL staff, Michelle spent 9 years working as the Preble Street Maine Hunger Initiative Program Manager. Michelle has a wide range of experience working with children, families, and seniors. She has extensive knowledge of food insecurity, homelessness, and poverty.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, over 700 cases of measles have been reported in the United States this year. With Maine’s first confirmed case in two years, you may have many questions about how it was reintroduced, and how to take care of yourself and your family.
Here are some librarian-approved resources to help answer your questions:
What is measles? How is it diagnosed and treated?
MedlinePlus is run by the National Institutes of Health, and it is a go-to website for quality health information. They are providing a page with comprehensive information about measles, including symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment.
Who is contracting measles, and how?
Interested in getting the facts about the current outbreak? The Centers for Disease Control offer information on outbreaks, including where cases have been reported and information about the origin of each outbreak in the United States.
How can I keep young children from being exposed to measles?
The American Academy of Pediatrics offers advice on keeping babies who are too young for the MMR vaccine from measles exposure.
Where can I find more current information about the measles outbreak?
The Health & Wellness Resource Center is a database offered for free through the Maine State Library. You can use it to find current newspaper and magazine articles about measles.
Where can I find more information about vaccines?
Explore this list of books and online resources to learn more about the past, present, and future of vaccines and vaccination.
Who can I contact for more information?
What should you do if you’re exposed to measles? How effective is the measles vaccine? How does the CDC respond to measles cases? Find answers to frequently asked questions on the CDC’s Measles FAQ page.
If you have personal health questions, it’s best to contact your healthcare provider. You can also contact your local health officer of the Maine CDC with any measles-related questions or concerns.
Are you doing research on measles, vaccines, or other health-related topics? If so, please contact Rebecca Starr, PPL’s Health Librarian with your questions. I’m happy to help you to get informed!