For a brief period of time, the library had curbside service for materials checked out, which were placed in bags with this note attached explaining quarantine guidelines. (Photo: Marshall Hoffman)

For a few brief days last week, the Morris Public Library had operated a curbside service where patrons could order books online or by telephone, drive up to the side door and pick up their bagged books that was brought outside to a cart where they could be picked up. A note attached to the bag told patrons not to open the bag for three days to observe quarantine measures. That service is no longer offered as the library has tightened its closure to the public. Staff, however, continue to work and are available by phone or online to help with reference or research questions, or with the Census. Library Director Anne Barber described on the KMRS Community Connection the time-consuming process of sanitizing every book they have to deal with.

“We unload the book drops with gloved hands. We put them in boxes,” Barber explained. “We label the boxes the date they are placed in the box and the date that they’re safe to take out. When we take them out, we take them out again with gloved hands and we wash them with a bleach and water solution. And so, we’re not soaking them, because they’re books! So we just dampen a cloth with the bleach water solution and then wipe the outside of the book. We don’t wipe the pages. That’s not necessary, according to the CDC.”

Barber said they are also waiting for new guidelines from the Library of Congress. The cleaning process requires a number of fans to help staff avoid bleach headaches. Barber discouraged people from returning materials at this time, as all materials out now won’t be due until mid-May and there won’t be any fines for turning things in late. The latest updates for the library can be found on their website morrispublib.org.

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