PRINCE FREDERICK, Md. – Calvert Library has been observing abundantly cautious quarantine periods for returned library materials. Those decisions have been informed by the Battelle REALM* study. REALM (REopening Archives, Libraries, and Museums) is a collaboration among organizations OCLC (a global library cooperative), the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and Battelle Memorial Institute (a global science and technology research and development nonprofit organization). Battelle has been conducting research since April 22 on how long the COVID-19 virus survives on materials common to libraries, archives, and museums.
Recently, Maryland Department of Health was asked to review the REALM study results to make a recommendation to Maryland libraries. Additionally, our own Health Department provided a more detailed explanation that while studies are detecting “portions of the virus (RNA or surface proteins),” that “is not equivalent to detecting intact virus particles capable of causing infection.” In light of this information and in keeping with the recommendation from MD Department of Health, Calvert Library is changing the quarantine period for materials returned to our locations to 48 hours. A 48-hour quarantine should help make materials available to our customers more quickly while continuing to ensure everyone’s safety and comfort. Library staff and visitors to library facilities continue to be appropriately masked and staff wash their hands frequently. For specific recommendations and other COVID-19 related resources, visit https://calvertlibrary.info/research-learn/research-resources/coronavirus-covid-19-facts/ .