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Safe Use of Readers in Classrooms

Command Performance Class sets Comprehensible Readers Covid 19 FVR REALM Safe use of readers

Can Real Books Be Shared and Still Be Read Safely?

Yes.  Readers can be used and shared safely in classrooms. 

Microwaving?  Fogging?  UV Light?  You won't believe the one simple way to disinfect readers!

Whether your students have Free Voluntary Reading libraries or all students are using their own copies of a class set of paperback, here's how. 

If we infect a book with Covid-19 and then test it after several cleaning methods and several days, the safest scientific solution is actually quite easy!  This information is from  the REALM Project: REopening Archives, Libraries, and Museums (REALM) Project.  Libraries that are now open are following these guidelines.


1.  Books should be laid flat between uses by different people, not stacked.  These books are safe to re-use without sanitizing 

The SARS-CoV-2 virus is not detectable on materials after three days of quarantine when books are laid flat.

2.  Stacked books are not safe to use even after 6 days of quarantine.

This research, Test 1 and Test 4, in which the Covid-19 virus was applied to books, not sanitized and then tested, applies to our paper back readers.  (Please notice books (test 5) with leather or cloth covers cannot be safely quarantined and should be removed from the collection temporarily.  )

Books should not be quarantined inside of bags, as this may create an environment where the virus can grow.

With Sanitizing

To sanitize the outside of a book, gently wipe down with a moist (not wet) cloth with cleaning solution, such as a wipe.  Do not wipe down the interior pages.  This is NOT recommended.  It is not recommended because it damages books.   Likewise, all other approaches (microwaving, UV light, fogging) that were tried were less effective and more damaging.  

Our suggestions for safe class room usage of class sets of readers based on these studies.

Readers should be individually assigned to students for in school or at home reading.  Upon return, readers should be laid flat (not stacked or returned to a bookshelf or reading rack.  Readers should remain on flat surfaces for 3 days.  This eliminates the risk of transmission.  Teachers or student volunteers who may handle multiple books can use gloves to return readers to classroom libraries.

Class sets should not be simultaneously shared between classes.  This may mean purchasing additional classroom sets.

Our suggestions for safe classroom usage of Free Reading Books based on these studies.

Students should choose readers based on their own interests and check it out like a library book.  If it stays in the classroom, it should be labeled and not used by other students until it has been quarantined.

Displaying readers

After three days of quarantine, books that have been laid flat can be checked out again.  To prevent browsing of books that could re-contaminate them,  we recommend asking students who have read books to preview them and provide reviews.   These reviews can be simple to complex and mounted on a wall.   We also invite you to peruse the reviews on our website of individual books.

Do you need more readers to safely re-open your classroom library?  Class sets and classroom library collections will be discounted 10% from now through May so that we can help you create a safe classroom library and get kids off of computer screens and back to reading real books.  www.CommandPerformanceBooks.com

Share this blog and links with your school district.  We accept Purchase Orders and will happily do the paperwork to get orders placed.   The research is linked below.  All data can be downloaded.  Here is the study:  https://www.oclc.org/realm/research.html


Department of Homeland Security. Master Question List for COVID-19 (Caused by SARS-CoV-2). The most recently updated edition is available at: https://www.dhs.gov/publication/st-master-question-list-covid-19

REopening Archives, Libraries, and Museums (REALM) Project. “REALM: Frequently Asked Questions.” https://www.webjunction.org/news/webjunction/realm-faq.html

REopening Archives, Libraries, and Museums (REALM) Project. “REALM presentation from Bexx Caswell-Olson of the Northeast Document Conservation Center” [19-minute video]. https://youtu.be/Lf8o-WTks9A

REopening Archives, Libraries, and Museums (REALM) Project. “Visual aid: How long the virus survives on commonly used library, archive, and museum materials.” https://www.oclc.org/content/dam/realm/documents/visual-aid.pdf 




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