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Safety and Cleaning Procedures



  • person cleaning computer screen

Idea Exchange | June 2, 2020

Idea Exchange has examined all of our internal and external procedures to ensure that we are doing everything possible to stop the spread of COVID-19 on our collections and in our spaces.  We are opening using a phased approach which will allow us to work out additional cleaning and disinfecting protocols as each service is reintroduced. 

Returned materials

All material returned to any Idea Exchange location will be held in quarantine for 72 hours before it is checked in. The Centre for Disease Control, who are leading the research into life expectancy of the COVID-19 virus on surfaces, has indicated that the virus can live for up to 72 hours on plastics but for much less time on other paper products. Because many of our hardcover books are wrapped in plastic book covers and most media is cased in plastic material, we will quarantine everything for 72 hours to ensure there is no living COVID-19 virus left on any of the materials. As the book drops will be emptied only once per day, the minimum quarantine period will be 72 hours, but it could be as long as 95 hours if an item is returned immediately after the drop box is emptied.

After this quarantine period, the items will be checked in using the date from 3 days previous to when they were put in the drop box.

Pick-up Service

During pick-up service, members will not be allowed inside Idea Exchange buildings. However, you can still reserve and check out materials. Please follow the instructions outlined in How Pick-up Service Works. As an added precaution, we are adding 7 days to every loan period to ensure that you have enough time to pick-up items and leave them untouched for your own quarantine period before using them. As a courtesy until further notice, there will be no overdue fines on materials. 

Cleaning of our Locations

The same thorough cleaning of our buildings will continue with added attention to high-touch areas such as handrails, door knobs and buttons. Staff are also being trained on all proper cleaning protocols.  Procedures are in place to ensure that equipment is cleaned using approved disinfectant sprays and wipes between uses. Once the public return to our spaces, additional cleaning will be added.

Staff will also be trained on proper hand-washing techniques as well as the safe removal of gloves and surgical masks for tasks that require those safety options. All staff are being asked to wear reusable, cloth masks while at work. 

Staff Scheduling

We are scheduling staff in each location in a way that minimizing contact with their co-workers. The same people will work together for each shift where possible. In this way we can reduce the possibility of cross-contamination.

Additional Precautions

When buildings do open to the public, even more precautions will be implemented to keep the staff and members safe.

  • All public service desks will be outfitted with plexiglass guards to eliminate the potential transfer of the virus by those showing no symptoms. 
  • Physical distancing markers will be installed in front of these desks to ensure the 2-meter distance is maintained at those locations. 
  • Directional signage will be installed in locations, where required, to ensure that physical distancing remains possible.
  • Hand sanitizer dispensers are currently installed at the entrance of each location and additional hand sanitizer will be available throughout our buildings.



Submitted by hele montagna (not verified) on

Question. Will the librarians be wearing gloves while shelving, and when selecting materials to be put on hold? Thanks! So glad you've reopened.

Submitted by Caitlyn (Staff) (not verified) on

That's a great question. We are taking precautions to ensure that library materials are safe for borrowing. Library Staff are wearing face masks at all times and wash/sanitize their hands between tasks. Gloves can become contaminated and require frequent replacement, so we are focusing on continuous hand washing. We also encourage everyone to leave their borrowed items untouched for your own quarantine period before using them. Due dates have been extended and there are no overdue fines until further notice, ensuring that you can enjoy your items for the full loan period.