Facebook conversation about hand, foot and mouth virus

Yesterday, our Facebook page had a check-in about the board books in the car and boat in the Story Zone. The author and a few of her friends had a not so accurate conversation about the way the library stores the collection increases the spread of the virus. I checked with LeAnn, Paul and John about the concerns. LeAnn has gathered this information about the virus and how we care for this collection.

Hand, foot and mouth virus spreads as easily as a cold and is a “community” illness. Prevention would be nearly impossible and we haven’t been notified of any public concerns beyond this post. We do take the Facebook post seriously, and really appreciate Natalie’s response* by offering to share this concern with management. Today, we have been in discovery mode to see if there is any plausible way to discover a verifiable connection to us. Since the infected child was here near the time of symptom presentation, it’s worth sanitizing a few things beyond the board books, because we have no idea precisely what all that child touched while here. Without specifically addressing what was touched (and it could be any surface), we can’t say with certainty that we can stop the spread of the virus.  

Easily transmittable viruses are definitely a part of any public place, libraries included. We do have cleaning and maintenance routines in place. For instance, items are removed from the boat and car each week. In doing so we are able to have each vehicle vacuumed and wiped down, and we are able to sort out stray toys or other collection items that have found their way into the mix. Books are handled individually at that time as well. This allows us to check items for condition on a regular basis.

All library materials are shared resources. Germ exposure is no doubt similar to what might be found on the rail of an escalator, a public drinking fountain or a kickball at daycare. The best protection from germs after handling those sorts of things is at an individual level through handwashing or hand sanitizer. All restroom facilities have soap and water, and hand sanitizer is available at the service desk. 

Our car and boat are much loved for imaginative play. Having sturdy books available on them helps kids find titles of interest that become must-read-now or must-take-home worthy. That discovery experience for them is important and one that we rank as a high value for them.

*All library staff should be familiar with the library’s Social Media Guidelines before posting or commenting on any social media channel managed by the library.

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