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PSA: Please stop microwaving your books to get rid of coronavirus

microwaved book
A microwaved library book returned to the Kent District Library in Michigan.
microwaved book
A microwaved library book returned to the Kent District Library in Michigan.

Some things, we suppose, just need to be spelled out.

Here’s one: Do not microwave your books to get rid of the coronavirus.

That’s the word from staffers at the Kent District Library in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

A few days ago, the library received a book that appears to have been burnt in a microwave.

Elizabeth Guarino-Kozlowicz, regional manager of Kent District Library, thinks it has something to do with Covid-19.

“I’m really not sure why someone would do this,” Kozlowicz told CNN.

She also made her case in a Facebook post.

You see, every book at that library — and libraries around the country — has a metallic radio frequency identification (RFID) tag that can and will burn in a microwave. The tags can also catch on fire, the Facebook post read.

But it does beg the question: How do we know our books are virus-free?

Earlier this year, the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) held a webinar on this very topic with David Berendes, a CDC epidemiologist.

“You don’t have to really worry about finding ways to disinfect those materials,” Berendes said to the attendees, according to a recap of the meeting. “The virus, if it’s present, would be present in very low quantities and would die off pretty quickly.”

In addition to that, libraries have their own protocol in place, Kozlowicz said. Here are some that the American Libary Association recommends.

“We are following the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) guidelines to ensure proper sanitation of shared library materials. Each book is quarantined for 72 hours after its returned to us,” Kozlowicz said.

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