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Local library quarantines thousands of books


IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - The Idaho Falls library is open, but local book worms can expect major changes to keep employees and the public safe.

When Governor Brad Little issued the stay at home order, that meant the library had to close its doors.

Beth Swenson, assistant director over public services at the Idaho Falls library, says this didn't keep library employees from working.

"We did a lot of training at home, a lot of webinars, sending emails for some of us. We didn't sit Idlelea bye we got work done from home," said Swenson.

During that time, they prepared for the opening that took place last Tuesday.

Since the opening, over 40,000 books have been checked out. 

"We get a lot of books returned. It's hard to wipe everything down, especially with the lack of alcoholic wipes and cleaners. Plus, disinfectant wipes aren't very compatible for cleaning books. So we've done some research and found that the virus lives are about 72 hours. We're quarantine all checked out items for 5 days just to give it a buffer," said Swenson. 

Right now, the library says they have over 1,000 books in quarantine and more than 1,000 books on hold.

Now that people are allowed back in the library, this raises the question of what this means for all the books being touched by visitors in the building.

"It's sometimes hard to find all the ones that people touch. So we're asking the public just to set them on top of shelves or on carts. The items that we pick up at the end of the day, come right back down to quarantine for five days," Swenson said. 

The library is not just making sure germs are being spread by books but are also looking out for the safety of others.

Handsanitizer can be found throughout the library.

It's not required, but it is strongly recommended that you were a mask while inside the building.

They ask if you have a child with you under the age of 10, they stay with their parents at all times. 

"For the most part, people have been really good about following our regulations. Every now and then we get some pushback and eye rolls when we ask people to back up if they're not six feet apart from another person. Even so for the most part, everybody's been really accommodating. The fact of the matter is if they can't abide by it, we can't be open so we're expecting everybody to follow the changes," said Swenson. 

Swenson says it's tough to say when things will go back to normal but estimates things to continue this way all the way up to August. 

Article Topic Follows: Coronavirus Coverage

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Ariel Schroeder

Ariel is a reporter for Local News 8 and KIDK Eyewitness News 3.


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