Mindblown: a blog about philosophy.

  • How the Harrison Library Stays Clean for Your Protection

    We know our visitors care about being clean and keeping germs from hurting them, which is why we take extra special care to ensure that our library is very clean. Cleanliness is a priority for us, and we wanted to share with you some steps that we take to prevent the spread of germs and to keep the library safe and sanitary at all times.

    Daily Cleaning

    The library gets a lot of foot traffic, and all those people who come into the library often leave some germs behind, completely unintentionally. We know that people try to be safe and clean, but we also know that germs are very hard to get rid of completely. So, we take precautions in our daily cleaning to make sure we get rid of as many germs as possible.

    We start by doing a basic cleaning to sweep the hardwood floors and vacuum the carpeted ones. This gets rid of most dirt, dust and germs. We also dust as necessary, usually on the tops of books and bookcases. Our basic cleaning also includes disposing of trash, which will keep away pests and keeps a sanitary environment.

    On top of these kinds of cleaning tasks that every library has to do, we make sure to sanitize well. We spray down the surfaces that people tend to touch a lot, like door knobs and handles. We clean the shelves, doors, and librarian equipment (scanners and stamps) with sanitizer to kill germs. This eliminates most germs on contact and makes the most touchable spots in the library as safe as we can make them without inconveniencing anyone.

    What’s great about many of the handles in the library is that they are made of metal, which is not a surface that germs can live on for very long at all, as metal naturally kills germs. So, we don’t have to do frequent cleaning to keep those touchable surfaces very clean.

    Deep Cleaning

    We also perform a deep cleaning as necessary. This is more intensive cleaning that requires us to bring in a professional cleaning service or dedicate a day to cleaning when the library is closed. We do this at least once a month to ensure that the library stays very clean and that problems with dirt, mold, and dust don’t accumulate and get out of hand.

    A deep cleaning is much more intensive than our regular cleaning and involves tidying under furniture, behind appliances, and anywhere else that is a little tough to reach. We even clean up high, getting rid of dust, cobwebs, and other debris on the ceiling fans and along the ceiling trim.

    There may be times where a deep cleaning needs to be performed more often, and we may do one of these special cleanings right before a big event when we expect lots of people to be in the library.

    How You Can Keep Yourself Safe

    The library should be a safe place for adults and children alike, and while we do our part to keep it that way, we also encourage our visitors to take some safety precautions of their own. To prevent the spread of germs in the library and to avoid coming into contact with germs of your own while in the library, try to use the following safety measures.

    Wear face masks in the library when you are coughing or sneezing. You can also stay home when you feel unwell so that you do not make others sick. Remember that when you are ill, you can catch some illnesses more easily and be affected by some germs more easily since your immune system may be busy trying to make you better.

    You should wash your hands before entering the library and then wash them again after you leave the library. That way, it is difficult for new germs to enter the building, and you are less likely to carry germs away with you.

    When in the library, try to limit how many items you touch. Only touch the items you have to and avoid others. When in any public place, it is a good idea to keep your hands away from your face, especially your mouth and nose. You can easily pick up germs in public spaces that your body could be vulnerable to. When you touch your face, germs can more easily gain entry to your body through your mouth, eyes, and nose.  

    It is also a good idea to keep your distance from others in the library so as not to pick up germs from them. If you notice anyone coughing, sneezing, or exhibiting other symptoms of illness, you should try to keep as much distance as possible from them. If you are bringing children into the library, be sure they follow the same precautions and instruct them to limit what they touch. Kids have a tendency to touch everything that appeals to them, so you will want to monitor your kids closely and keep them near you so that you can keep their touching under control.

    Final Thoughts

    We do our best to keep the library safe, and we believe it can be extremely safe when cleanliness is well managed. Safety in the library is something everyone can be involved in, and if there is anything we can do to improve the cleanliness of the Harrison Library, please let us know. We want you to feel safe here and not have to be afraid of what you touch or what your kids touch.

    We will continue to update and improve our sanitization and cleaning measures as we see fit. We listen to visitor feedback and value your input. The library is for everyone, and if we all do our part, we can minimize germs in the space and keep illness from spreading.  We look forward to seeing you at the library soon and helping you feel welcome in our safe, clean space where imagination comes to life with the power of reading.  

  • How to Take Care of Your Books at Home

    We absolutely love books, and we know all of you do as well. Most people visiting this site probably have at least a small library at home. If you’re like us, you want your books to last. While we often put plastic covers over our books to keep them safe for years, you may not have to go that far.

    Those covers are necessary for books that change hands a lot and that get red multiple times a year. Your books may not need that kind of safety measure, but there are some practical things you can do to protect your books and ensure that they last for many years.

    Give Them Plenty of Air

    Books that are stored in tight, cramped spaces will not last as long as they should. They need some space to breathe, so even books stored on a bookshelf very tightly will not be in as good condition as they should be. Give your books just a little space if you can and that will make a big difference over the years you have them in your collection.

    They need good air circulation, as that keeps them from getting musty. This also allows them to dry out when the humidity rises and doesn’t trap the humidity between the pages.

    Books that are pressed tightly together will often damage one another. The constant pressure they create against each other will make them deteriorate faster. Keep that in mind if you are trying to figure out where to store them. Try to place them on a bookshelf with a little extra space, not cramming them tightly into the shelves. This is ideal storage for books so that they last as long as possible.

    Books need room on both sides in order to last a long time. Try not to push them all the way back to the back of the bookcase. Instead, pull them forward and line them up with the front of the shelves. This not only looks attractive, but it also keeps mold and humidity from building up behind the books.

    Pressing your books all the way to the back of the bookshelves will damage pages, whereas pulling them forward takes some of that pressure off. It is a good way to be gentle on the books over years of storage time.

    Keep the House Clean

    Do you know what destroys books faster than just about anything? Well, fire is the most damaging for them, but other than that it is mold. That’s what eats through books, darkens the pages, makes them difficult to read, and destroys the pages. Mold is not good for your books, so you want to get rid of it as soon as you see any.

    Even if the mold isn’t growing near the books, mold spores can still spread out wherever the books are in the house and damage them over time. Keep mold out of your house to protect your books.

    You can do this by cleaning regularly. If you aren’t very good at keeping the mold out of your home, then hire a professional cleaning service- whatever it takes to safeguard your books.

    When you clean, be sure to get rid of any water that is lying about, as mold tends to grow from there. Make sure you stop up any leaks and keep your plumbing in good shape so that mold has trouble finding a water source. Also allow plenty of fresh air to circulate in the home to make it difficult for mold to thrive.

    Dust Your Books

    You also want out make sure the books are dusted off. Dust can damage your books over time, so use a gentle feather duster or microfiber cloth to get dust off of them. Be sure to use gentle cleaning motions so that you do not damage the pages, especially with older, brittle books.

    Store Books Upright

    It is smart to keep your books stored upright on a shelf. This protects the spines and pages from damage and prevents sagging. Storing books in a box can put a lot of weight on them and damage them over time. The same thing happens when they are laid on their side on a shelf. Stand them up to keep them in the best shape possible and don’t give them so much space between each other that they lean more than a couple of inches.

    Remove Books Properly

    Did you know that there is a proper and an improper way to pull a book off the shelf out read it? Most people will pull a book out by placing their finger on the top of the book by the spine. This puts pressure on a fragile area and pulls the spine away from the book over time.

    Instead of that method, you should grasp the spine in the middle on both sides. Then pull the book toward you. For an even gentler removal, bring your hand over the book and push it out toward you from the back of the shelf, if there is enough space to do so. The right removal method is very important for books you use often, like a devotional book coreference book. Other books might not matter as much, but you will definitely wear on the spine if you keep pulling to books the wrong way.

    Don’t Attach Anything to Your Books

    You might like to place sticky notes or rubber bands on your books for note taking and keeping the book closed, respectively. However, you should not keep anything attached to your books or stuck to them. Those items can wear the book down and make it deteriorate faster. Try not to leave bookmarks in the books either, as they can release chemicals that damage the book as well.

    Keep your books clean and free of any foreign items to help them last longer. If you take good care of them, you can get plenty of years of reading out of them.

  • The Importance of Cleaning library Books During Cold and Flu Season

    Flu season lasts for months and will be the time of year when most people get sick or pass on sickness on others. You may become ill during this season and not really notice it, but you can be spreading it to other people anyhow.

    This is why it is so important to take extra precautions during this time of year, which lasts from October to May in the northern part of the world, which includes Europe, Russia, Canada, and the United States.

    We want to be careful about what we are touching during these times and take some extra care in keeping germs away from our faces. We have a few suggestions for what you can do to keep yourself safe when it comes to library books at this time of year. Remember that library books are handled by many people. It’s not just the librarians who touch them, but then people also come into the library and touch many of these books. That includes small children who might not be too careful about their illnesses and who they are spreading germs to.

    Then, of course, the books get checked out and taken home, where they can encounter all sorts of germs in those environments. They can come into contact with pets, insects, and people who live in the same house or who visit the house. You never know what germs a library book will come back to the library with!

    Here are some things you can do to keep library books clean this time of year and prevent the spread of germs.

    Wipe Down Plastic Covers

    You want to be very careful about any kind of cleaning you do on books suggests Anthony of Los Angeles Maid Service & House Cleaners. You need to keep water and other liquids away from the paper and cardboard parts of the books. But our library books that are allowed to be checked out of the building all have plastic covers. This makes them easy to clean and easy to preserve. We will wipe down these covers during the flu and cold season, or at least spray them with disinfectant spray. We do this whenever flu season is in swing and whenever we get the books back from our guests.

    You can take care of library books at home and avoid letting germs hang out on them. Just use a disinfectant wipe on the plastic overs. Any part of the book that has plastic is safe to wipe down with a disinfecting Ipe. The stronger the disinfecting wipe, the better it will be at killing germs.

    Be careful not to wipe down any paper or cardboard part, as the water in the wipe can be damaging to those parts. Wipe gently from one side to the next, wiping in a smooth, long motion until you have wiped the entire plastic surface clean.

    When to Clean Books

    The best time of year to wipe down books with a wet wipe or disinfectant wipe is during the colder winter months when flu season is going on. In the summer, the humidity tends to be too high to safely wipe them down and clean them. That humidity can make the book warp if you are not careful, so we don’t wipe our books down then, nor do we advise our guests to wipe down their books that they check out.

    If there is any cleaning to be down on library books in the summer, we usually just dust them. That helps extend their life and keeps them from looking dirty and untidy. If anything spills on a book’s plastic cover, we wipe that down and then ensure that any remaining dampness is dried away completely before storing the book away. It is a bad idea to store books with other books if they have any moisture on them. The water, even in small amounts, can damage multiple books.

    Books are Germ Hotspots

    Why is it so important to keep library books clean? This gets rid of contaminants on the book that could cause them damage, like food and drink particles, as well as dust and dirt. It also removes germs and bacteria, which can stay active on the plastic cover of a book for days or even weeks. If the book is handled by anyone, they can pass on their germs, leaving them intact on the book.

    We always assume that every book has been handled when we clean the library, and we think it is wise for anyone who checks out a book from the library to assume the same thing. We cannot possibly clean each and every book every day of the week. That wouldn’t not be feasible because we don’t have that kind of time and manpower in the library. So, we urge our guests to clean their own books carefully once they get them home.

    You should assume that others have touched the book before you. Assume that they did not have clean hands and may have passed on germs. Assume that the book hasn’t been cleaned since the last person touched it. If you take precautions and have that mindset, you will be much safer.

    Minimize Germ Contact

    You want to take steps to keep germs from accumulating on the books that you borrow from the library. Try to make sure that they are not left anywhere that they will get dirty. Keep them at home or in your vehicle as much as possible. Be careful about taking them into public places, like schools, malls, and waiting rooms. These are all germ hotspots and can be areas where the books collect germs. If you take your book out in public, just clean it off when you get back home and wash your hands before and after reading it. That will keep you safe and protect others.

    When we all take proper precautions and do our part to keep library books clean of germs, we all cut down on the spread of illnesses. 

  • Spring Cleaning Can Help Your Library

    Are you looking for ways to help out your local library? One suggestion that could be helpful to you and to your library at the same time is a spring cleaning.

    Spring cleaning for your home will help with all the dust, bacteria, and allergens that are there, and it is an important part of keeping your home looking nice and dealing with cleaning issues that are too big or regular, daily cleaning.

    How does it help the library, though, when you clean your home? Read on to find out.

    The Library Needs Donations

    Most people know that their local library probably has some funding struggles. Libraries don’t make much money and tend to rely on donations for new books and for upgrades. There simply isn’t enough money allotted to the library by the government to do all that we need to do to keep things looking new and interesting all the time. A lot of work goes into the library, and many of the displays and new materials are provided by generous donations of library and friends of the library.

    At the library, we are all readers, and we love to see new books come in and new decorations go up, but we can’t always make that happen on our own. We need help. That’s where you come in.

    As guests and visitors to the library, you get to benefit from the free book borrowing services and other amenities the library offers, like computer usage, internet access, printing services, research, writing help, and more.

    You can help support your library by design more than just frequenting it and borrowing books sometimes. You can help out by buying books or our library sales and supporting other events the library holds to earn money. You can also help out by donating items. If you have any books, furniture, or decorations to donate, please feel free to bring them in.

    We cannot accept every donation, unfortunately, because some of them do not fit the library’s goals or current themes, but we are thankful for every donation offered. You can be sure of that. We appreciate it when people think of us and try to do nice things to support their local library.

    If you are not sure if your library can accept your donation, then please give us a call and find out before you take the trouble of bringing it here. We will be happy to assess your donation over the phone and let you know if it is something we can use. We are absolutely thrilled when people are interested in donating to the library.

    Spring Cleaning Tips

    Maybe you feel intimidated by spring cleaning or you are not sure how to do it effectively. That’s okay, at the library, we are experts on a lot of subjects, including spring cleaning for the home. Here are our best tips to help you get through spring cleaning quickly. If you want your best spring cleaning ever, just follow these suggestions.

    Take It One Room at a Time- Don’t try to work on the entire house at once. If you just take it one room at a time, you can focus on finishing a room or two each day and not have a big, disorganized mess at the end of each day. This also allows you to take breaks and not feel as stressed during the process.

    Make a Plan- It can help to figure out what you want to do with your spring cleaning before you do it. Plan out your days and what areas you want to focus on. Make a list of what you hope to accomplish so you can feel like you are making progress and keep track of everything that you wanted to do.

    Buy Cleaning Supplies- Don’t start spring cleaning without first checking to see if you have all the supplies you need in order to clean. Buy more disinfectant, floor cleaner, and other chemicals solutions that you might run out of partway through. Having to stop and buy new items can slow you down, so get this out of the way early on.

    Get Boxes for Donations- There may be some stuff you want to toss out and some stuff you want to give away. Source some boxes from your local grocery before you start cleaning so you have a place to store everything as you clean. That way, you won’t end up with piles of items that look untidy. You can also move your donations more easily for they are kept in boxes.

    Get Help if Necessary- Spring cleaning can be a big job, and you may find it is too much for you to handle. It is not a bad idea to have a professional cleaning company come and do at least part of it for you, like the more difficult areas that could include the kitchen and bathroom.

    What Can You Give Your Library?

    As you clean, you want to keep an eye out for anything the library could use. First on the list should be books. We always want books for all age levels. It doesn’t matter if they are somewhat used or if they are research books, school books, and other books that might not be desirable to most people. Nearly every book can find a place in the library. Books we might reject or have to get rid of would be ones that we already have multiple copies of or ones that are in really bad shape.

    We may also be able to use toys and play area items for our play area. These should be cleaned and in good condition for the library to use.

    We can sometimes use decorations, especially for seasonal events. We may be able to make use of your Christmas, Halloween, and Independence Day decorations.

    We can also use some furniture, like couches, chairs, and tables. These help to fill out our reading areas and make them more inviting.

    If you are excited to clean and to donate to the library, consider keeping us in mind the next time you do spring cleaning. We appreciate all donations sent our way. 

  • How to Create Great Spaces for Reading

    Where do you and your children like to read? Do you have a favorite spot you go to when you grab a book and just curl up and read for hours? Maybe there is a particular chair or couch you prefer when you have some coffee and open a book for a relaxing read.

    For each person, there are particular reasons why a spot will make a good reading nook. For those who are not as fond of reading, it may be tough to find a great place to read. If you have family members you are trying to get to do more reading or you would like to be more comfortable reading, then you may want to create ideal reading spots.

    As librarians, we know what makes a great place to read, and we want to share some of our knowledge with you. After all, the library should be the home of knowledge.

    Different Positions for Different Moods

    Sometimes, we like to read sitting up, and other times, we prefer to read lying down. Preferred reading position depends on how we feel at the moment and particularly whether we are tired or not. Just before bed, you might want to relax in a spot to read where you can recline and then put the book away before you fall asleep. The bed may be the best place for that. For those who fall asleep easily when they are lying down, they may need a chair or couch so they can sit up the entire time they’re reading.

    You may want to have multiple reading spots picked out and prepare those places so that you can easily transition from one to the other as your mood changes. You might start out sitting in your favorite chair reading a book and then feel tired but not want to stop reading. So, you can move to the bed and keep on reading until you’re ready to sleep. We mentioned this simply to remind you to prepare multiple places for reading spots and not just have a single one.

    Give Yourself Room

    Your reading spot should have room for you to stretch out and not have to feel like you need to curl up in a ball, unless you want to be curled up. There should be room enough for you to feel comfortable, and there should be room for you to rest a drink, like a cup of water, tea, or coffee. You also want a place to set down your phone or book so that you can leave them at your reading spot and not need to carry them around with you to a better location. We recommend always having a place to rest your book for your reading location. That way, you can place the book down there whenever you’re not reading and know exactly where to find it when you’re ready to resume.

    For those who read very quickly, it may be helpful to have a place to store multiple books by the reading location. That way, you can easily start off your next book after you finish the one you’re currently on, and you never even have to get out of your seat.

    Make It Clean

    Your reading area should be very comfortable, and one way to keep it comfy is to keep it clean. Even if you don’t clean all of your house frequently, you ought to clean the rooms you spend a lot of time in. If you’re going to be reading for a while, it’s wise to keep that space clean for a variety of reasons.

    A clean room reduces stress, as things are tidy and organized and don’t distract you from what you’re trying to do. A clean room also has fewer allergens and irritants, so you can breathe more easily and you’re less likely to cough or sneeze. A clean room is also more likely to make you feel comfortable, because there will be little dust and dirt that will irritate your skin and make you itch.

    To get your reading room really clean, consider professional cleaning. Having deep cleaning or professional cleaning done every so often in your reading room can keep it extremely tidy and make it even more comfortable to use.

    Make Sure There Is Plenty of Light

    When reading, you want adequate light to read from. You don’t want to have to strain your eyes, as that can lead to vision problems and tiredness from extended reading sessions. With lots of light to read by, you can read for longer periods of time without feeling tired. That makes for more comfortable reading.

    It’s best to have overhead light set up to read by. That way, the light shines directly on to the pages. You should angle your seat so that the light is behind and above you. This gives you the best light. Multiple lights coming from different angles can be beneficial so that your head does not create a shadow that blocks the light from behind you. When setting up a reading area, carefully consider the lighting arrangement. Try out different seating locations to find one that works best.

    You may want to use an adjustable light, like a nightstand lamp or a tall, flexible lamp that can be moved around to give you the best possible lighting. To make your reading area comfortable, it could be helpful to set up lighting just for that area. Make sure the bulb you use is bright enough to give you adequate light.

    Final Thoughts

    Your reading area can be a favorite place to spend time, and you can have many great memories there of the books you’ve read. It’s smart to take some time to prepare your reading area properly so that it’s more enjoyable to hang out there. Make it as comfortable and convenient as possible so that your reading time is not disturbed. Then, the only thing that’s missing is a good book, and we have plenty of those.

Got any book recommendations?