I’ve been laughed at in the past when I’ve shared this cautionary tip, but now with COVID-19 a real threat, I want to suggest that you wipe the covers of any library book you check out. Even in “normal” times, library books are a risk. Think of how many hands handle any given book from when it’s checked in to when it’s checked out again not to mention when it’s residing in multiple homes. A library book is community property. Even if a book isn’t harboring a dangerous virus, it’s polluted from being sneezed and coughed upon, left in dirty places like car floors, backpacks with smelly socks, and bottoms of lockers. Books are returned with gum and dried pudding on the covers, crumbs in page gutters. You get the message.

Elaine Johnson

Oak Park

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