ain’t no way to treat a book

My local library is doing a pretty conscientious job about treating the pandemic with respect while still providing the services it always has. Masks, distancing, disinfectant, a request not to reshelve books you examine (um, I may not be good about this one). Among the most visible consequences of this infection control is how they are dealing with returned books.

I was in my local branch over the weekend and I saw what you see above in one of the conference rooms (which are closed to public use for the duration). These are the books that were returned recently. The usual slots for accepting these are closed, and patrons must simply leave them in a large bin by the door. Periodically, the bin is wheeled back to the conference room where its contents are dumped on the floor. Here they remain quarantined for several days so any lingering virus on them can expire and they can be safely disinfected, checked in, and returned to the shelves.

I was startled that a library would treat books this way. Dumping books on the floor! So I contacted a friend who works at this library and asked how such an atrocity could happen. She enlightened me in part by explaining their protocols for handling potentially infected books, and then she showed me this picture:

This is a photo from a decade ago, and it shows a typical weekday overnight return in the regular book drop. The books were piled upon themselves then too, and I guess I never gave any thought to what happened when I pushed a book through the slot.

She told me that it is because of this reality that the library invests in more durable bindings whenever they are available.

In any case, I understand reading is up overall during the pandemic, so I’m glad the public (socialist) library is there to help fill this need. Tax dollars well spent.

Explore posts in the same categories: Ramblings Off Topic

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