Library News for January 2021

Dear Library Community,

Happy New Year! I hope you are healthy and safe and looking forward to better days in 2021.

As always, we have much planned at the Library this year. We will be working to bring you new and improved services while continuing to prepare the libraries to be ready to welcome you safely inside sometime in the future.

Here is some library news to share with you.

I am proud to share that the Urban Libraries Council has recognized the Contra Costa County Library’s 3D PPE Printing Program as an Honorable Mention in their 2020 Innovations Initiative. The annual innovations award program recognizes and raises the visibility of cutting-edge programs, strategies, tools, techniques and ideas from ULC’s member library systems across the U.S. and Canada. Contra Costa County Library was selected by a panel of expert judges from 260 submissions in 10 categories that showcase creative thinking and imaginative applications of library resources. The Library was honored in the category of Wellness, Safety and Sustainability, with award winners being recognized for their level of ingenuity, the outcomes achieved and the ability for other libraries to adapt and implement their work. In the early months of the pandemic the Library used several 3D printers to produce mask clips and Montana Masks at a time when PPE across the globe was in short supply. Read the full award entry about the project at

We have reduced the quarantine period on returned library materials to 24 hours. This change addresses some concerns from patrons about the length of time that returned materials remained on their accounts. Items will also circulate more quickly. The shorter quarantine period frees up space in the library for other important work and allows staff more space for social distancing.

We made these changes after receiving guidance from County Health Officer Dr. Chris Farnitano. He offered the following regarding the quarantining of materials.

  • There is very little evidence of transmission of COVID-19 from hard surfaces. Most transmission comes from people standing in close proximity (less than six feet) while not wearing masks.
  • Quarantining returned library books for 24 hours should remove essentially all risk of acquiring COVID from these materials.
  • Frequent use of hand sanitizer is a more effective approach to reducing your risk of COVID from frequently touched surfaces than quarantining those surfaces.
  • While there have been some studies showing detectable virus on some hard, dry surfaces after 24 hours, there have not been any documented cases of individuals catching COVID in this way, and most experts feel the amount of viable virus that remains is not sufficient to cause an infection.
  • The CDC recommends daily cleaning only for frequently touched surfaces, such as tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.

If you have concerns about the shorter quarantine time, we suggest bringing your own bags to collect library materials and quarantining the items at home until you feel comfortable using them.


Alison McKee
Interim County Librarian