Coronavirus US: People try microwaving library books amid virus fears

A US library took to Facebook to share their outrage over people’s latest attempts to disinfect public property, like library books.

“Noooooooo!!!!!! Oh no no no,” Tampa Bay Library Consortium captioned a picture of a book badly burnt after borrowers tried microwaving it to kill germs.

The book was loaned out from Temple Terrace Public Library in Florida, where staff assured everyone that books were disinfected safely before being loaned out again.

“Temple Terrace and all Hillsborough County Library Cooperative libraries quarantine all materials for 72 hours after they are returned. Please do NOT attempt to microwave library materials as the RFID tags, located inside, will catch fire. Stay safe out there,” they shared on Facebook.

It comes after news stories in the US that claimed people could sanitise library books by placing them in the microwave.

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Other public libraries have noted similar behaviour, urging people to be aware that trying to microwave the books can cause serious harm.

After dozens of library books were returned damaged, Largo Public Library shared a message of caution on social media.

“Firstly, that is not how microwaves work and secondly, our books have security tags in them that contain metal and could catch on fire in the microwave.”

Local media reports have been warning people against this method of sterilisations, pointing to findings from a new research partnership called Reopening Archives, Libraries and Museums (REALM). The study recently found that the new coronavirus that causes COVID-19 was not detectable on five common types of library materials after three days.

“Materials tested in phase one included the cover of hardcover books (buckram cloth), the cover of paperback books, plain paper pages inside a closed book, mylar protective book cover jackets, and plastic DVD cases,” a spokeswoman from the IMLS said in a statement.

The push to disinfect public property comes as US states see record increases in coronavirus cases.

New coronavirus cases in the US climbed to a high of more than 55,000 overnight meaning the nation has now smashed its seven-day average for infections.

The infection curve is now rising in 40 out of 50 states. And 36 states are seeing an increase in the percentage of tests coming back positive for the virus.

The worst hit state was Florida which reported 10,109 new cases.

Originally published as Library books microwaved to kill COVID-19

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