New Interview: “‘We May Need to Quarantine our Books’ When Libraries Reopen, New York Public Library CEO Says”
To reduce the spread of novel coronavirus, Americans may continue social distancing for many more months — but such precautions could last even longer for books kept at the nation’s libraries, said Tony Marx, the chief executive of the New York Public Library, the largest public library system in the U.S.
“We may need to quarantine our books for that long to make sure that we’re not passing germs from one person to another,” Marx says. “That’s something that you know, the experts in the world of libraries and science — they’re going to have to tell us.”
“How long can the virus live on paper or any other element of a book?” Marx asks, positing that library systems may eventually turn to the Institute of Museum and Library Services, a federal agency, for an answer to the question.
Overall, the pandemic presents libraries with formidable new challenges, Marx said, which will cause the New York Public Library to likely reopen “gradually,” so he and other officials can observe what happens at initial locations.“This is a new world,” he says. “I don’t think we could open all of our facilities, nor do I think we should instantly. Let’s open a few. Let’s learn and see how it goes.”
Marx made the remarks during a conversation that aired in an episode of Yahoo Finance’s “Influencers with Andy Serwer,” a weekly interview series with leaders in business, politics, and entertainment.