Libraries across Japan are installing a UV machine, which takes 30 seconds to sterilize a book using UV light and flutter its pages to clear out dust.These libraries are hoping that this is giving visitors reassurance to take books with them during the coronavirus pandemic.
Although Japan has avoided the vast number of COVID-19 cases and deaths seen in other countries across the world, it is now experiencing a third wave.As of Wednesday, Japan had reported 167,330 coronavirus cases, with 2,458 deaths.
The Narimasu Library in Itabashi, north of Tokyo, has had a machine installed since 2018 but the facility’s manager said that it is now being used three times more than before and it’s a complete need now. People can use the machine ,which sits next to the front desk, once they have a book out and then again upon its return. However, this is not compulsory but people would like to be on a safer side anyways.
For many of those in the library on Wednesday, the machine was as much an amusement as it was a COVID-19 safety measure too. Eriko Isozaki, who comes to the library weekly to borrow children’s books, said the machine entertained her son, who was seen amused with the blue ultraviolet light.“I’m not sure how effective this is, but I think it’s better than nothing,” said Isozaki.”And it’s fun. My child seems to enjoy watching the machine.”
Many of the library’s visitors are elderly and so keeping them safe is extra important.Many of them used the machine when returning books, including 77-year-old Yasuhito Kobayashi.“I feel relieved because it sterilizes the books, but I’m not sure if it’s actually effective,” he said.