Why Cleaning and Sanitizing for Libraries is More Important than Ever

If you lived anywhere other than under a rock during 2020, you’ll know why cleaning and sanitizing libraries is more important than ever. The spread of SARS CoV-2, also known as COVID-19, is worsening in the winter months. With the general health complaints that flare up during winter, the propensity of people to gather for holiday parties, and the lack of palatable outdoor activities, indoor facilities that remain open must take special efforts to protect public health. The LA County government recently published new healthcare protocols for organizations permitted to remain open or offer limited outdoor services during the winter months in order to lower the risk of spreading infection to vulnerable Angelenos. Nancie Brown & Associates is on hand to help library staff keep their libraries clean and safe as possible for both them and visitors. We have been assisting businesses in observing the health and safety standards laid out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention since the beginning of the pandemic. Prior to that, we have racked up over three decades of experience performing detail cleaning for residential and commercial clients alike, including household names like Mercedes-Benz, Pottery Barn, Cal Arts, and Burberry.

Coronavirus and Public Libraries

Organizations such as the American Library Association and the National Library of Medicine have already put out extensive documentation priming public libraries for the difficulties of operating during a pandemic. We will not reiterate it at length here, simply summarize:

  • Ensure that your facility is abiding by social distancing rules. This may entail limiting entry past a certain capacity, removing chairs and other furniture to discourage patrons from different households sitting too closely together, or even removing items such as coat racks to prevent the spread of the virus from items of clothing touching each other.
  • Suspend events that will be impossible to safely hold while social distancing, or pivot to online alternatives. Story readings and the like can easily be conducted via video conferencing clients.
  • Provide staff with sufficient PPE, and training in the correct removal and disposal of gloves/masks/etc. Make sure that patrons have access to hand sanitizer at multiple points around the premises, so that they are less likely to pick up or transmit viral particles by touching surfaces or objects.
  • If an employee does go home sick, make sure to clean and disinfect surfaces which they have come into contact with. Bathrooms, railings, door knobs, telephones, keyboards, counters, and obviously, workstations. 

What’s the Difference between Cleaning and Sanitizing for COVID-19?

It is important to note that a standard approach to cleaning is unlikely to be sufficient when it comes to protecting your library’s staff and patrons from the spread of COVID-19. Routine cleaning and disinfecting with standard cleaning products does remove a number of germs that could make people sick. However, it does not necessarily clean dirty surfaces or remove germs like those which cause COVID. It is best to use EPA-registered disinfectants that are predicted to kill COVID-19 particles.

How to Sanitize Collections in a Pandemic

While specialized cleaning removes COVID from things like doorknobs and work surfaces, sanitizing library collections themselves can be a real struggle. Most books are not robust enough to undergo the standard sanitization techniques. The least worst solution that the ALA has found so far is to simply isolate borrowed or used materials for periods of time before reshelving them: the virus is known to persist on paper for up to five days, and on plastic for longer. Jacob Nadal, director for preservation at the Library of Congress, has said:

“If at all possible, hire a professional cleaning service that has appropriate training and personal protective equipment to do this work. This is a time for exceptional caution.”

Library Cleaning Service in Los Angeles

Nancie Brown & Associates has past experience of cleaning libraries, and insists that every cleaner it hires undergo a rigorous training program in order to maintain the sterling standards that have made it the preferred choice of elite architects, contractors, and other businesses in Los Angeles for over 30 years. Our cleaning staff are outfitted with complete PPE and suitable cleaning products, including some of our own formulation to provide the best and most efficient results. If you want to contract Nancie Brown & Associates to professionally clean your library, fill out the form on our website.