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Textbooks in Short Supply Amid COVID Quarantines

Inside Higher Ed: “Librarians are quarantining print materials for several days between loans to stop the spread of COVID-19. For students who rely on the library to access textbooks, that’s a problem…The quarantining system is simple. When a book is returned to the library, a librarian wearing gloves and a mask places it on the lower shelf of a cart. The next day, the book is moved up a shelf. On the third day, the book is moved to the top shelf. The following day it is returned to the stacks. An ongoing research project called Reopening Archives, Libraries, and Museums, or REALM, is investigating how long the COVID-19 virus survives on print materials, including hard and soft book covers and inside pages. The project is a collaboration between the OCLC, a global library collaborative; the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), an independent federal agency that provides grants to libraries; and Battelle, a nonprofit research and development organization. Early REALM project testing found the COVID-19 virus was no longer detectable on materials stored in a lab setting after three days. When the materials were stacked, as books would be if returned to shelves in the library, traces of the virus were still present after six days…”

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