Core’s Preservation Outreach Committee has updated its resource page on Handling Library Materials and Collections During a Pandemic, with an emphasis on including resources that will be regularly updated and speak directly to COVID-19 research and guidance as it impacts handling library collections.
Initially published in March 2020, this resource page was created early in the pandemic when most available resources were based on general flu and pandemic research. It also included articles published by library and cultural heritage organizations as well as initial CDC recommendations.
Now, more than a year after the start of the pandemic, a great deal of research has been conducted on SARS-CoV-2 and its impact on safely handling collections, and the Preservation Outreach Committee’s guidance has changed to reflect this. The new guidance highlights the essential research of the REALM Project (Reopening Archives Libraries and Museums), a joint project from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), OCLC, and Battelle. The project studies the life of the virus on the surfaces of materials found in library collections, publishing research findings, literature reviews, and tool kits for libraries making quarantine decisions.
In addition to highlighting REALM’s ongoing research, the new guidance also shares other helpful links. This includes an example of how an institution can communicate its quarantine procedures to the general public and the Department of Homeland Security’s Master Question List for COVID-19 (caused by SARS-CoV-2). This resource, updated almost weekly, describes as much of what is known of SARS-Co-V-2 as possible and identifies questions that still cannot be answered by existing research.
With the addition of resources that are being updated frequently, Core hopes that Handling Library Materials and Collection During a Pandemic will continue to be a useful source for authoritative and up-to-date information on handling collections during the COVID-19 pandemic.
For more preservation- and conservation-related resources and information, visit the Preservation Week Preservation Resources page.
–Sean Ferguson, Preservation Week Outreach Committee Member