Why people are microwaving library books

Nadine Carroll
·2-min read

American libraries have issued warnings about microwaving library books after noticing people are zapping their borrowed books because they believe it will sanitise them against coronavirus.

Tampa Bay Library in Florida issued a plea to members after several ruined books were returned.

“Please do NOT attempt to microwave library materials as the RFID tags, located inside, will catch fire. Stay safe out there,” the library wrote on Facebook.

Microwaved library books destroyed and burnt
Library books are being destroyed because people are microwaving them. Source: Facebook

In an attempt to assure avid readers that books were safe to borrow, the library reminded people that they follow CDC guidelines and quarantine all books for 72 hours before returning them to shelves to be borrowed again.

Not only are the books being destroyed, but due to the metal security tags imbedded in the books, popping it in the microwave is a fire hazard.

Largo Public library, also in Florida, posted a similar plea to book lovers after they said news articles claiming microwaves can kill coronavirus germs started gaining popularity.

“In light of a few recent news stories, we would like to remind you NOT to put your library books in the microwave in an attempt sanitise them! Firstly, that is not how microwaves work and secondly, our books have security tags in them that contain metal and could catch on fire in the microwave,” the library wrote.

The incidents have left librarians gobsmacked.

"I don't know if it was something that they saw on the news — that they thought maybe the heat would kill COVID-19," Elizabeth Guarino-Kozlowicz, regional manager of Kent District Library, told The Detroit Free Press.

She said due to the plastic protection on books and the 72-hour quarantine guidelines, there is no need to take any further sterilisation steps.

Books aren’t the only items people are reportedly microwaving in an attempt to remove germs.

One of the most commonly asked questions from USA Today viewers is if microwaving face masks will sanitise them, according to the outlet.

USA Today warned against it, stating a microwave would not kill germs and if masks contain metal in them, it could be dangerous.

Instead, the outlet suggested laundering reusable face masks and cautioned surgical masks should only be used once.

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