Many AIC members have expressed health and safety concerns for both staff and visitors when museums, libraries, and archives gradually resume operations. Questions remain about the viability of the COVID-19 virus on paper and plastics in circulating collections, as well as on surfaces that are repeatedly touched, such as interactive screens and headphones.
I am delighted, therefore, that AIC has been invited to serve on the Steering Committee of the recently announced IMLS initiative, COVID-19 Research Partnership to Inform Safe Handling of Collections, Reopening Practices for Libraries, Museums.
In this capacity, AIC, represented by Executive Director Eryl Wentworth, will assist the IMLS, OCLC (a non-profit global library cooperative), and Battelle (a non-profit scientific research organization) as they evaluate and develop guidelines on how to handle materials, training, and cleaning in a lessened, but still persistent, COVID-19 presence. Other associations and collecting institutions on the Steering Committee include the American Alliance for Museums, the Association of Science and Technology Centers, National Archives and Records Administration, the Children’s Museums Association, the Smithsonian Institution, and the American Library Association, among others.
AIC will continue to update this page and keep it linked from our homepage. The IMLS Research Partnership is working for the rapid release of information in the coming weeks. We are united in our desire to provide access to collections, while insuring everyone’s wellbeing.
Margaret Holben Ellis
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