In the current climate of keeping ourselves as protected as possible from contact with the coronavirus, the best information source is the World Health Organisation. They recommend washing your hands frequently, not touching your face or eyes, and keeping others safe by covering your mouth when sneezing or coughing. Some of my colleagues working in school libraries in the USA have been asked to disinfect library books. Apart from this being very difficult to carry out (how do you clean a book without getting it wet?) it is actually unnecessary.

“I have never heard of anyone catching anything from a library book,” infectious disease specialist Michael Z. David told the Wall Street Journal in 2015. There was a terrible year in 1895, when a librarian, Jessie Allen, died of tuberculosis. Rumors flew around the world that library books could indeed kill you – which simply was not true. The Smithsonian article about this sad event shows how quickly misinformation and fear can lead to public panic. Fortunately, the idea of libraries sharing books withstood this test and people can still turn to libraries for reliable information in a time of crisis. The Library Journal published this helpful article for Public Libraries last month outlining what they should know about Coronavirus. It includes the most reliable websites, news and update, and some books about the topic of pandemics (obviously it is too early for a book to be written about coronavirus).

We have a few books on germs, disease and keeping healthy in our collection. All of them recommend that the basic self-care that the World Health Organisation has published.

For those students who are at home due to self-isolating measures, we have some wonderful online resources they can access to read electronic books and to support their studies.

Tumblebooks and TeenBookCloud provide electronic books, fiction, and nonfiction. They need a username and a password to access, please email one of the librarians for that information. We have Encyclopedia Britannica online and EBSCO newspapers and journals – again please email for the username and password information. Our school subscribes to these resources and that is why we need to have usernames and passwords to protect them.

In every situation we face having access to high quality, reliable information is crucial. You can count on your school library and librarians to have this ready for you.