Quarantining Returned Materials

As the Westport Library begins to expand its services with curbside pickup and home delivery of materials, the question of how to transfer Library materials back and forth safely is on everyone’s mind. It can be a challenge to find definitive answers, as sources and research can be conflicting. Below you’ll find a roundup of the research on how to quarantine materials and the steps the Library will be taking to follow the recommended guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American Library Association (ALA), the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), and the New England Journal of Medicine.

How will the Library work to ensure that books and other materials are safe?

The Library will hold returned materials in the white trailer outside the building to prevent the virus from being brought directly into the Library. Materials will be held in the trailer for 4 days before being brought into the Library checked in and removed from the patron's account.

Materials will remain on the patron's account for a minimum of 4 days after they have been returned since items will be checked in only once the quarantine procedure is complete.

Will the Library be wiping materials down with disinfectants?

The use of liquid disinfectants is harmful to library materials and is not recommended. There’s also evidence to suggest that it may be a misperception that spraying or wiping the outside of a book with Lysol, alcohol, or bleach is sufficient to kill the virus across the entire volume.

Should patrons quarantine materials they get from the Library?

Patrons may, if they chose, quarantine materials once they receive them.

What will the impact of the quarantine be on the availability of materials?

The circulation cycle will be longer as a result of implementing the new safety measures. Loan periods have been lengthened. Once materials are returned, they will be quarantined for three days before the items are checked in. Finally, when an item is requested, it will take time for the item to be pulled from the collection and then patrons have a further 4 days to collect the materials after being notified that the materials are available for pickup.

Digital materials will continue to be available for speedy circulation: http://westportlibrary.libguides.com/DigitalCollection/eBooks

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