How safe are library books right now?

They’re fine, people. The virus can’t live on paper for more than 24 hours, so just relax. If you need a place to focus the fight-or-flight bursts of anxiety-inducing chemicals your brain is manufacturing faster than a Chinese facemask plant, try thinking of this: I have worn a hole through the wool at the elbow of my favourite cardigan and I can’t get out to get suede patches, which means I appear less professorial and more hobo-like than would otherwise be the case. It’s basically the greatest tragedy in the history of humanity. Focus there.

“I currently have over 1,000 books signed out to students,” she writes. “I’d like to know if the virus could be present on returning library books. Some of the books are paperback, and some of the books have mylar or laminated plastic covers.”

According to Dr. Colin Furness, an infection control epidemiologist and assistant professor at the University of Toronto, the precautions for books should be the same as anything else you come into contact with.

“Book borrowing is a bit like grocery shopping,” said Furness. “You are touching items and bringing them into your house. We can’t wash or boil books, obviously. So, the thing to do is to clean your hands after touching them before touching your face, and to let them sit for 24 hours.”\

The virus on a book should be completely inactive after 24 hours,” Furness said.

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