Safely Reopening Libraries: IMLS, Battelle and OCLC COVID-19 Research Partnership

UPDATE 5/12/20: A new website is now available to support the research partnership between Battelle, the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), and OCLC. REopening Archives, Libraries and Museums (REALM) is designed to distribute science-based information and recommended practices to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 to staff and the public. The REALM site will serve as the primary source for program results and resources.

UPDATE 4/23/20: Columbus Metropolitan Library sent samples of books, tapes and other materials to Battelle Memorial Institute to be infected with COVID-19 to determine the longevity of the virus. This research project is a new collaboration between the Institute of Museum and Libraries Services (IMLS), Battelle and OCLC. The goal is devise best practices for how to handle materials and engage with the public in light of COVID-19.

Today, the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), together with Ohio-based OCLC, Inc. and Battelle, announced a new collaboration to support libraries and museums as they consider safe reopening practices in light of COVID-19. As the national emergency has intensified, so has the concern over the handling of paper- and plastic-based, circulating, and the other types of collections as well as interactive exhibits managed by libraries and museums. Information has been inconclusive on how long the virus survives on surfaces and how (or if) different types of materials can be handled to mitigate exposure. IMLS, OCLC and Battelle plan to provide the best research available on how to handle materials and engage with the public under a COVID-19 reality.