COVID on Library Materials – Part II

A few weeks back I reported on the first phase of an important study. The REALM Project is a partnership between the Columbus Metropolitan Library, OCLC, and the Battelle research labs. In the first round of testing five types of library items were studied to determine how long the virus lasts on these surfaces. According to the result of the first phase of the study: “Results show that the SARS-CoV-2 virus was not detectable on the materials after three days of quarantine.”

Last week the REALM Project released phase two of the study, this time looking at five more library items including:

*Braille paper pages
*Glossy paper pages from a coffee table book
*Magazine pages
*Children’s board book
*Archival folders

The findings were similar to the phase one results.

Results show that after two days of quarantine in a stacked configuration, the SARS-CoV-2 virus was not detectable on the archival folders.

After four days of quarantine in their stacked configuration, the virus was not detectable on the braille pages, glossy book pages, and board book.

The magazine pages showed a trace amount of virus at four days. Day four was the final time point tested.

These results continue to support the practice of quarantining library materials for at least three days. Download the full phase two report to learn more about the study and its findings.

Does COVID-19 Survive on Library Materials?

There is much we know and still don’t know about COVID-19. Most public libraries closed in response to the pandemic, with many of them still not reopened. Among the diverse questions librarians had to consider in their reopening plans perhaps the biggest one is how long COVID-19 survives on library material. Most libraries like mine in Palm Beach County choose to quarantine items for three days out of caution. This was based on general studies of the lifespan of the virus on similar types of material.

Now we have a study conducted that specifically looked at the virus and library material. The REALM Project is a partnership between the Columbus Metropolitan Library, OCLC, and the Battelle research labs. In the first round of testing five types of library items were studied to determine how long the virus lasts on these surfaces. The results came in last week.

Photo by Bryan Schneider on Pexels.com

According to the study, “Results show that the SARS-CoV-2 virus was not detectable on the materials after three days of quarantine.” In fact for many items the virus was undetectable after only one day. This shows that libraries which practice the three day quarantine method are providing safe materials for the public.

See the full results of the initial study on the REALM web site.

Palm Beach County Library System Reopening on June 1

Just a quick note that the Palm Beach County Library System is reopening on Monday, June 1 after a ten week closure due to COVID-19.

The Library is opening with limited hours to start. A full listing of the services and resources available when we open can be found on the PBCLS web site.

If you are visiting the library this week, please thank the staff for all their hard work over the past two months. During our building closures, library staff continually served the public by phone, email, chat, and most recently with a walk-up service. Staff members also participated in several food distribution services, assisted with emergency operations, and hosted virtual story times with the School District. They have also been trained to assist residents with re-employment.

We look forward to seeing our members return to the library. please remember to use a mask and keep your visit to less than an hour. We appreciate your cooperation in these challenging times.

Macmillan Ends the Embargo

Lost in the midst of this global health crisis was a major step back by Macmillan Publishers. Last year, the publisher introduced a controversial eBook embargo policy that limited public libraries to only one copy of a title for the first eight weeks after publication, no matter how large the library system. This policy provoked anger throughout the nation, resulting in some library system’s boycotting Macmillan eBooks entirely.

On March 17, Macmillan surprised everyone by suddenly reversing the policy. In a statement, CEO John Sargent spoke to the library community.

There are times in life when differences should be put aside. Effective on Friday (or whenever thereafter our wholesalers can effect the change), Macmillan will return to the library e-book pricing model that was in effect on October 31st, 2019. In addition, we will be lowering some e-book prices on a short term basis to help expand libraries collections in these difficult times. Stay safe.”

Library organizations across the nation were happy with the news.

“This is extraordinarily welcome news in an unprecedented time,” said ALA Senior Director for Public Policy & Government Relations ALA Inouye. “Equitable access to digital content is more important than ever as libraries continue to serve their communities amid rapidly changing circumstances. Macmillan’s return to its original lending terms signals a new starting point for all publishers to consider how they can work with libraries to ensure—and expand—access for all readers. ALA looks forward to working with publishers to make that happen.”

Read more at the Publisher’s Weekly website.

eBook Warfare

(Original Post had a broken link to the article. It has been corrected here.)

For my recent Write of Passage assignment, I was tasked with writing about something that is changing in the world. So I choose a topic that is important to me as a librarian and to all public library members across the country. It has to do with accessibility to eBooks.

Have you ever heard of a business flat out refusing to sell their product to a reliable and well-funded customer? 

Sounds like a crazy way to do business.  However, that is the case right now between some publishers and libraries.  Several major publishing houses have set up a business model to make it difficult and expensive for public libraries to purchase eBooks.   One of the largest publishers in the world completely refuses to sell any eBooks to public libraries.

To learn more about this conflict between libraries and publisher, please read my recent short article on my web site.

Photo by freestocks.org on Pexels.com

Why the Internet Will Never Replace the Public Library

stackswithlightAs a librarian, I am sometimes asked why we still have public libraries.  Those who ask the question assume the Internet has made libraries obsolete, and besides, they believe no one goes to them anymore anyway.  After resting the urge to slap them, I quickly set about correcting the error of their ways and share why libraries matter as much today as at anytime in their history.

In a new article I set out to dispel the myths and shed light on the role of the modern library.  For example, in the except below I discuss how libraries are vital to our educational system:

“So how does a public library contribute to a strong community?  Primarily, public libraries are one of the three pillars of education in our society.  Alongside schools and colleges, libraries provide educational opportunities for residents and compliment the curriculum of the other two institutions.  However, public libraries have a key difference from schools and colleges, in that they are open to all. Whereas children age out of the school system and colleges may only be a 2-6-year long experience, public libraries provide services from cradle to grave.  They are also one of the few places in our society that embrace the democratic principles of openness and equality. No one is turned away from the public library and its resources are typically free to its residents. Income and background are irrelevant to obtaining a library card.”

Read the rest of the article on my site.

 

Fine Free @ PBCLS

pbclslogoDoes anyone like overdue fines?  Library members hate paying them, the staff dislike collecting them, and do they even work to get people to return items on time?

That is why I’m happy to announce that the Palm Beach County Library System has become fine free.  By doing so we have joined the ranks of public libraries across the country that realized library fines are an antiquated notion.  Starting on October 1, the Library System moved to the fine free model.  In a recent Palm Beach Post article, reporter Hannah Morse quoted from my presentation to the Board of County Commissioners the reasons why this change was required.

“Across the nation, public libraries now view fines as an impediment to service,” said Douglas Crane, director of the county library system. “Late fines actually stand in opposition to the library’s core values of equitable service, supporting early literacy and free access to information.”

Crane added that fines “act as a barrier and create inequitable service, disproportionately impacting children and community members with limited financial means.”

Learn all about the change on the library’s web site. And remember, you still need to bring your items back.  We just won’t nickel and dime you about it if you are a few days late.

Join the Petition Against McMillan

Have you ever heard of a business flat out refusing to sell their product to a reliable and well funded customer?  Sounds like a crazy way to do business.  However, that is the case right now between some publishers and libraries. Hachette and HarperCollins are two publishers who have changed their lending models to make it more expensive and restrictive for libraries to purchase eBooks and eAudiobooks.

Now, one publisher has decided to implement a new model designed to severely limit public libraries from providing eBooks to their residents.  Beginning November 1, 2019, Macmillan Publishers will allow libraries to purchase only one copy of each new eBook title for the first eight weeks after a book’s release.  Macmillan claims that libraries are eating into their profits, yet libraries already pay on average $25 per title, and often have to buy it again after a set number of downloads or years.  As the American Library Association states:

ala-logo“This embargo would limit libraries’ ability to provide access to information for all.  It particularly harms library patrons with disabilities or learning issues. One of the great things about eBooks is that they can become large-print books with only a few clicks, and most eBook readers offer fonts and line spacing that make reading easier for people who have dyslexia or other visual challenges. Because portable devices are light and easy to hold, eBooks are easier to use for some people who have physical disabilities.

Here’s the truth: Limiting access to new titles for libraries means limiting access for readers like you.”

Help ensure that public libraries have access to eBooks for all readers.  Sign the ALA petition to let publishers know that access to eBooks is a right for all!

Unique Libraries Around the World

What do train tracks, philharmonic orchestras, and giant chess sets have in common?  They are all features found in new, groundbreaking libraries from across the world.

The Straits Times, a periodical from Singapore, recently released an article on wonderful and creative new library designs.  It includes examples from cities as diverse as Helsinki, Calgary, Doha, and Austin.  All of these new buildings challenge the traditional ideas of what makes a library a library.

“Helsinki Central Library in Finland: Only one-third of the 185,000 sq ft space is allocated to books – the rest is community space for meetings and activities. An urban workshop on the second floor, for example, has sewing machines, scanners and printers as well as laser cutters and soldering stations, with spaces allocated to sewing, making badges and even playing the drums.

Calgary New Central Library in Canada: It has train tracks running through it, as the site was designed to accommodate an active Light Rail Transit Line that already existed. The lobby is an arched bridge that lets locomotives go under it and in “living rooms”, patrons can sit on swirly chairs and watch them zoom by all day.”

calgaryinterior-cropped

Calgary Public Library

View the rest of the article and learn more about these innovate library designs on The Straits Times web site.