Gone are the days of school library cleaning protocols consisting mainly of wiping table tops, dusting books, vacuuming the floors, and taking the trash out. Those four particular tasks, amongst many other traditional cleaning responsibilities that school libraries have known forever, still exist within the new normal, but they’re far from enough.
This shouldn’t be discouraging, at least we hope it isn’t. The world is different now thanks to COVID-19. Unfortunately, for a place as nurturing and innocent as a school library, more aggressive cleaning protocols are necessary. This means more time, energy, and in one way or another finances, need to be dedicated to school library cleaning for proper sanitization. The last thing anyone wants is for library staff and students to get sick. All things considered, here’s what your school library cleaning protocols should include in order to properly sanitize and ensure a safe, cozy environment:
High Touchpoint Surfaces
Before the pandemic, high touchpoint surfaces and high traffic areas weren’t perceived as threatening to health. They were mostly just areas that became unsightly throughout the day (smears, dirt, oil, etc) and were addressed after the day came to an end. Indeed, now, we know that these surfaces and areas present serious health concerns. Add disinfecting stations strategically throughout your library and encourage students and staff to take responsibility and use the materials (hand sanitizer, disinfecting solution in spray bottles, paper towels, personal hygiene wipes) available to keep your library sanitized!
Handling Library Materials
While students, staff, and other visitors can’t avoid using library materials – books, computers, workspace furniture, printers, and more – it’s safe to say that a majority of library materials remain untouched and unused for long periods of time. This does not mean that they don’t need to be cleaned! To integrate this issue into your cleaning protocols, it’s best to refer to experts, who are in most cases bodies of government. Take this guide for example, and don’t forget to thank the Indiana Library Federation for their valuable work!
Cleaning Schedules & Checklists
Even if you oversee the implementation of the most robust cleaning schedule and comprehensive cleaning checklists, trust us when we say that you need to beef it up! Not only should you consider increasing the frequency of routine cleaning and maintenance, your protocol needs to supplement pre-existing methods with (for example) the latest EPA approved solutions, disinfecting technologies, and even additional maintenance-specific staff. You can never do too much in terms of ensuring that your school library is properly sanitized!
Upgraded Code of Conduct
The best way to help keep your school library clean is to prevent it from being contaminated. In an age where we can’t control (much less see) potentially harmful pollutants from visiting our libraries, it’s best to play it safe. This may mean upgrading your school library’s code of conduct to include continued social distancing and the use of PPE such as masks.