A pandemic is an outbreak of a disease that occurs over a wide geographic area and affects an exceptionally high proportion of the population. The following information and resources are meant to assist libraries, institutions, and archives during a pandemic. Some of the resources are specific to influenza outbreaks but can be used more universally to help educate and inform decisions on pandemic prevention and preparedness. Please visit this page frequently as it is continuously being updated with new information as the COVID-19 situation develops. Please note that this page was last updated in March 2020. We are working on adding new information as it becomes available.
COVID-19 Basics: Disinfecting Cultural Resources
Video from the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training (NCPTT) that provides the basics for cleaning and handling cultural resource materials
COVID-19 Resources from EBSCO
Provides free resources and expanded access to content to help support institutions
Disinfecting Circulating Books and Other Collections
Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC)'s recommendations for disinfecting books and other materials
Pandemic Preparedness Resources from the American Library Association (ALA)
Provides information about preparing for a pandemic, including library-specific policy suggestions and more universal resources on pandemic education, prevention, and preparation, including the ALA Statement on COVID-19
Additional Resources and Recommendations
The following recommendations are from the Preservation Administrators Discussion Group of the American Library Association (PADG).
- Preliminary research suggests that the COVID-19 virus can only survive on surfaces for 2-3 days and on paper/cardboard for 24 hours.
- Many institutions have promised to use a disinfection system such as Clorox 360 to clean their spaces. This specific system is NOT recommended for use with paper-based collections. The guidelines from Clorox state that all paper should be removed from areas prior to application.
- The COSTEP MA page (for Massachusetts) on this current health emergency has related resources for libraries and library workers.
- ALA is currently recommending that all libraries close to the public.
- Closing libraries and allowing collections to remain untouched in quarantine may be the most effective method of disinfecting library collection materials.
The following are articles about the COVID-19 pandemic that libraries, library workers, museums, archives, and archivists will find useful:
- How to Sanitize Collections in a Pandemic (American Libraries)
- How Long Does Coronavirus Last on Different Surfaces? (The Guardian)
- New coronavirus stable for hours on surfaces (National Institutes of Health press release)
- Recommendations for Election Polling Locations (Center for Disease Control (CDC))
- How Long Will COVID-19 Live on Surfaces or in the Air Around You? (The New York Times)