Borrowed a Library Book That was Still in Quarantine, I had an unexpected and interesting experience. I borrowed a library book while it was still in quarantine. Yes, it was still in quarantine, not me, for protection from potential COVID spread. Apparently, the Halifax Public Library , and I’m sure many other libraries, disinfect books after they are returned, and leave them for 24 hours, at which time any possible COVID on it will have died off and not be transmittable. I just didn’t know that in how I came about it.

I was looking to get a book called Older Sister. Not Necessarily Related. by Jenny Heijun Wills, from the library earlier this week. I was hoping to read an e-book version on the Libby app that lots of people use to borrow e-books from libraries. However, the Halifax Public Library didn’t have it in e-book format, only three copies in print.

With no copies at the branch nearest to me, I logged in online and put a copy on hold Tuesday night, seeing there were two copies currently available for borrowing. Wednesday night, not having seen any notifications for my hold having been ready, I thought I’d log in again to see how the system works for tracking books on hold to get them there. Surprisingly, I saw one copy was at the library where I was going to pick it up! Not knowing how the system worked, I didn’t know whether notifications were even sent, so Thursday at lunch, I thought I’d just drop by to get the book.

When I got to ask for the book I thought was on hold for me, the librarian searched with me where books were on hold for people and we couldn’t find it. When she checked in the system and heard my story above, she realized what was going on. It was the book quarantine!

Surprisingly, though, she let me check out the book instead of making me come back the next day as I thought I was going to have to. However, I was thankful I didn’t have to. The risks were low enough after the book had been disinfected that it was generally safe for her to pick it up, put it in a bag, and put a “best after” quarantine date and time on it, after which I could open it. That was 830 PM Thursday night, which passed before I got it out to snap the pic below for a Twitter post to commemorate the story and probably unique experience for me as I’m not sure how many more books I will actually have to borrow from the library, on hold and getting it prematurely, before this pandemic ends. I rarely ever borrow print books from the library, often reading e-books borrowed.


With this book in hand, I am most excited to start reading it. The prose is very lyrical, and it’s very personal, the kind of books, and especially memoirs, I love! Jenny Heijun Wills also took time to post a few replies to my post, which is always cool and exciting when the author acknowledges a reader’s excitement about their books! Thanks, Jenny, and can’t wait to get through it to read everything in it, even if in moderation each session to absorb all the poetic writings rather than just skim through it only for facts or just to get the gist of it.



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