In mid June, a staffer at Kent District Library in Michigan shared a Facebook post with pictures of a burnt library book. Apparently, a borrower had tried to microwave it.
The regional manager of the library, Elizabeth Guarino-Kozlowicz, assumes the borrower was attempting to thoroughly sanitize the book due to coronavirus concerns. However, many library books have a metallic radio frequency identification tag—and that metal can and will burn in a microwave.
As Kent District Library's Facebook post explained, "The pictures below show what will happen, when you try microwaving a book. The radio frequency tags in all KDL materials have metal in them. They will catch on fire in the microwave."
Reminder that KDL will quarantine returned materials for 72 hours. The pictures below show what will happen, when you...Posted by Kent District Library - Plainfield Township Branch on Thursday, June 18, 2020
According to CDC epidemiologist David Berendes, it's unnecessary to disinfect those materials. During a webinar he gave with the Institute of Museum and Library Services, Berendes explained that even if a book's pages were directly sneezed on, a 24-hour quarantine would be enough for the virus to die.
To make sure their borrowers are receiving sanitized materials, KDL quarantines their books for an even longer amount of time. "We are following the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) guidelines to ensure proper sanitation of shared library materials. Each book is quarantined for 72 hours after its returned to us," Kozlowicz said.
If you're still concerned about borrowing books from the library, you can go completely contactless by borrowing or buying eBooks instead—and you don't need an eReader to do it.
Head to your library's website to find out how to borrow eBooks from them, or check out . You can also check out our daily deals for eBooks, or get personalized ebook deals sent to your inbox every day by signing up for our newsletter below!