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NYPL – ‘We may need to quarantine our books’ when libraries reopen

New York Public Library CEO – “To reduce the spread of novel coronavirus, Americans may continue social distancing for many more months — but such precautions could last even longer for books kept at the nation’s libraries, said Tony Marx, the chief executive of the New York Public Library, the largest public library system in the U.S. Concerned that the disease can survive on surfaces like paper and transmit from one book borrower to the next, libraries once they reopen may impose a quarantine period on books that lasts as long as scientists determine the coronavirus can survive on the materials, said Marx, whose library system serves more than 17 million people each year. “We may need to quarantine our books for that long to make sure that we’re not passing germs from one person to another,” Marx says. “That’s something that you know, the experts in the world of libraries and science — they’re going to have to tell us.” “How long can the virus live on paper or any other element of a book?” Marx asks, positing that library systems may eventually turn to the Institute of Museum and Library Services, a federal agency, for an answer to the question…”

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