Please, don’t cook the books. Microwaving them won’t kill COVID-19

book on fire
Photo credit nilsz/Getty Images
By KYW Newsradio 1060
PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Ever try to return a singed library book?

Apparently, some Americans are. A misinformed method is igniting online, encouraging readers to microwave their leased books in order to kill any remnants of COVID-19.

However, library books contain security sensors with metal components, which can spark a fire when microwaved. 

Please don’t put a library book in the microwave to kill the coronavirus. It sets fire to the barcode we put on the book #librarybook #book #librarylife #librarytwitter #coronavirus

— Maggie Gosney (@TheMaggieGosney) August 17, 2020

------No, you shouldn't microwave library books to try and kill COVID-19! All returned material is quarantined for 72 hours.Items are fitted with a metallic Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tag which can and will burn if microwaved.#phase3 #holdfirm #library #dlrLibraries

— dlr Libraries (@DLR_Libraries) July 8, 2020

“We would ask that people please do not microwave library books or materials,” echoed Kaitlyn Foti Kalosy, spokesperson for the Free Library of Philadelphia.

As a part of COVID-19 safety precautions, Philadelphia libraries isolate returned books for at least three days before putting them back on the shelves, based on a research project funded in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Sciences.

“When any materials are returned, they are just quarantined for 96 hours — before even our staff touches them,” said Foti Kalosy. “Even if there was something that had a contamination on the materials, it would be eradicated after 96 hours, and then they are safe to handle and to check out.”

Thus far, Foti Kalosy hasn’t seen any instances of microwaved library books in Philadelphia, but she wants the public to be informed.

“Maybe you can get it out there before anyone tries it,” she said.

Some Philadelphia libraries are still operating on a limited basis, but books can still be checked out, either by appointment for pickup or by hold.