Keep library safe: How to sanitize collections in a pandemic

(27 Mar 2020)  Keeping libraries safe is important for both workers and guests. But during the current COVID-19 pandemic, questions about how to do that—particularly when it comes to materials and surfaces—have complicated answers.

It’s an unprecedented situation. Conservators, who are experienced in diagnosing and repairing collection damage, say that historical information on sanitizing library materials is lacking. Besides a bit of anecdotal evidence from a 2019 Smithsonian Magazine article, there’s very little historical data available, says Evan Knight, preservation specialist at the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners: “There’s nothing published or shared from previous epidemics.”

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