It’s been a great month for Victoria as case numbers are consistently hitting single figures, and our 14 -day rolling average continues to go down. With restrictions easing and libraries restarting more services, we have to make sure that employers aren’t being complacent when it comes to your safety.
An issue that delegates and HSRs are always telling us about is the lack of consistency around book returns. Since reopening chutes, it was a common practice for libraries to quarantine books away from staff for 72 hours, this is based on evidence from the United States that was circulated by ALLIA, and was adopted by ACT libraries in the first round of reopening.
Book quarantining is by no means a simple practice, and we know the concerns that some staff from smaller libraries have with the lack of space available to do so.
Following your feedback, the ASU has put together the following resource to support delegates, HSRs, and members to consult with management.
While we don’t have a specific recommendation for how to deal with the risks associated with returned books, we do want you to be as informed as possible when consulting with management. While the risk of contracting COVID-19 is significantly less than it was three months ago, it is still a serious illness that can be fatal to those who contract it.
Any potential risk of contracting COVID-19 needs to be dealt with seriously, like you would with any other potentially fatal hazard, and management need to be maintaining open communication lines with staff about these issues.
If you haven’t spoken with your HSR in your workplace, use this resource as an opportunity to get in touch with them. This has been an overwhelming time for many of our HSRs, and they will no doubt appreciate the support.