With coronavirus confirmed to be able live on surfaces for a certain number of hours, libraries in Japan made sure that they will be able to keep patrons and book borrowers safe by disinfecting their books using UV light.

A number of libraries in Japan have now installed machines that will sterilise books using ultraviolet light. This would give their visitors that peace of mind knowing that a book that they would take out from the library would be free of viruses and they can avoid the risk of bringing the virus with them to their homes and families. Many libraries across the country are already installing the machine, which would take half-a-minute to sterilise a book. Aside from sterilising the book, it also flutters the pages to ensure that dust is cleared.

One of the libraries in Japan that is already known to be using the machine is the Narimasu Library, located in Itabashi, Tokyo. It has been using it since 2018, but the rate of usage has increased three times due to the pandemic.

The machine is located near the front desk. Patrons can use the machines when they would take a book out and can also use them once upon returning the book. The use of the said machine is not a rule but could be done voluntarily.

New York Post reported that one of the library's patrons, Eriko Isozaki, who would always visit the library to borrow books for her son, revealed that the machine would entertain her son. It appeared that the blue ultraviolet light fascinates the little child.

For Isozaki, although she is not sure of the efficacy of the machine, she said that it is still better than nothing at all. Another notable thing she said was that it is fun.

The library also has elderly patrons, and keeping them safe by ensuring that books are disinfected is of paramount importance. One of their patrons, Yasuhito Kobayashi, already 77 years old, said that he feels relieved by the presence of the machine since it sterilises the books.

UV light has been known to kill viruses. It is because of this that UV disinfection lamps have also become popular. While they may kill the virus, one has to take precautions as they can also potentially injure the eyes.

UV machines for books
UV light to sterilise books in Japan. Photo: Pixabay