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How should I clean or disinfect books during the COVID-19 pandemic?

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Last Updated: May 06, 2020 Views: Views: 1038

The CDC does not consider paper to be a high risk format for transferring the virus.

Current recommendations for cleaning books are as follows:

  • Quarantine books for 24 hours or
  • Gently clean the outside cover of the books using one of these methods
    • wipe it down with a disinfectant wipe
    • lightly spray it with a disinfectant spray
    • use a paper towel or cloth that is moistened with a disinfectant cleaner
  • Thoroughly wash your hands immediately after initial contact/cleaning

Please do your best not to damage the books.  Cleaning wipes or cloths should be slightly damp especially when cleaning paperback books. 

If you know someone has coughed or sneezed on a book it can be quarantined for 48 hours.

This applies to both library books and dual enrollment textbooks.

More information can be found in these two articles:

Aldrich, Margaret. "Best Practices at Little Free Libraries During the Coronavirus OutbreakLittle Free Library. 14 April, 2020.

Peet, Lisa. "IMLS, CDC Offer Guidance for Disinfecting Returned Library BooksLibrary Journal. 8 April, 2020.

Answered By: Leigh Hall

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