NLS Operations Alert


No. 20-47


DATE         :  July 22, 2020

TO             :  Network Libraries

FROM        :  Michael Katzmann, Chief, Material Development Division

SUBJECT  :  The virus causing COVID-19 on materials



The Library of Congress has been active in the Reopening Archives, Libraries, and Museums (REALM) project. This project draws upon research to produce authoritative, science-based information on how to mitigate staff and visitor exposure to COVID-19 in cultural institutions. Working in partnership on the REALM project, OCLC (formerly known as the Online Computer Library Center), The Institute of Museum and Library Services, and Battelle are conducting tests on how long SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, survives on materials that are prevalent in libraries, archives, and museums. These tests will provide information on how long some commonly handled materials need to be quarantined prior to being put back into circulation.


REALM released the first set of test results on June 22, 2020, and the second set of test results on July 20, 2020.


The second round of tests involved applying SARS-CoV-2 to five materials, including braille paper provided by NLS, stored at standard room temperature (68F to 75F) and humidity conditions (30 to 50 percent). Other materials tested included glossy paper, magazine paper, children’s board books, and archival folders. The test determined that after four days of quarantine in a stacked configuration, the virus was not detectable on the braille pages, glossy book pages, and board book.


The full test 2 report can be found at


NLS will periodically update network libraries as more information becomes available. As stated in several other Operations Alerts, please continue to follow your state and local health guidelines regarding quarantine periods and cleaning and/or disinfecting procedures for library materials.


Michael Katzmann

Chief, Material Development

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