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.
In our more than 150-year history, Portland Public Library’s mission has been to promote a city of readers through access to learning and opportunities for the free and full expression of ideas by all.
Portland Public Library is a central institution in Greater Portland that is accessible and free to all who seek its resources. However, the recent murders of Black men and women, magnifying years of racial injustice, impel us to recognize that PPL must take action to dismantle racism in our systems — education, healthcare, law enforcement, employment, and others — especially for the Black community and other people of color.
To fully embrace the Library’s mission and live our values, we must examine and be accountable for our practices, internally and externally, and structure new ways forward. We commit immediately to:
Review policies and change those that result in inequitable treatment of all who access the Library
Intentionally develop the Library Board and Staff to reflect and magnify the rich diversity of our Greater Portland community
Equip the Library Board and Staff for greater self-knowledge and understanding about their role in anti-racism
Build collections that tell the many stories and images of our evolving community
Initiate programs and dialogues that encourage broad and divergent perspectives to engage with one another and advance a community committed to equity and racial justice.
Join with community partners in all sectors who share our commitment to actively identify and break down barriers to racial justice and equity
Join us in our work to achieve racial and social justice. We will know we are living our commitment when we all hold each other accountable.
Sarah Campbell, Executive Director
Peter Richardson, PPL Board of Trustees, President
Poet Danez Smith sings out poems of love and intimacy in their 2020 collection Homie. In the poem “my president” they affirm all those who are their people, supporting their mama for president and their grandma for president and trans girls for president and teachers and birds and neighbors who hold the door open for them when their arms are full of laundry and the dude at the pizza spot and the children who they’d elect too, like “jonathan, eleven /…blog writer, young genius, community activist, curls tight / as pinky swears, black as my nation i trust the world in his tender / blooming hands, i trust him to tell us which rivers are safe to drink / & which hold fish like a promise.”
There’s a whole Danez Smith world in this book, a world’s expanse of observation and feeling, life and motion, elegy and ode, and the nation they create in these verses is for their beloved friends, their fam. They call their loves. The morning is a soft shawl. Texts arrive at just the right time. Trees are slow green explosions. Their anthem is mighty.