New quarantine guidelines for books

September 4, 2020

Based on new findings from the Reopening Archives, Libraries, and Museums (REALM) project about how long the COVID-19 virus survives on books and other materials, and in consultation with the U-M Department of Environment, Health & Safety, the library has modified its circulation policies.

The quarantine period for returned items, which was 72 hours, is now 7 days. Given this change, we have discontinued our course reserves service. Our contactless pickup service will continue, and we will quarantine all returned items for 7 days before they can be checked out again.

The new research indicates that the virus can survive for up to six days when books are stacked, which is how most of our books are held, whether on shelves or in return bins. Earlier REALM tests showed the virus was not detectable on these surfaces after 3 days or fewer, when the surface was open to the air.

If you’re an instructor with materials on reserve, or if you need assistance with course materials, contact your department’s specialist, or find Course Materials Support on our website.

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