News // World

Coronavirus: Japanese use ultraviolet devices to lure readers back to libraries

Library administrators in Japan hope that a device that sterilizes books with ultraviolet (UV) rays will provide readers with the assurance they need to be able to return to reading during the coronavirus pandemic, writes Agerpres.

Libraries throughout Japan are installing such devices, which take just 30 seconds to sterilize a book using ultraviolet radiation, and then flutter its pages to clean it of dust.

The Narimasu Library in Itabashi, a city north of Tokyo, has had such a car installed since 2018, but the institution’s director says the device is currently used three times more than in previous years.

Readers can use this car, located next to the reception, after receiving the desired book and then again when handing over the borrowed volume. However, the use of the device is not mandatory.

For many readers who were present on Wednesday in the said library, the device was perceived both as a novelty and as a preventive method to combat COVID-19 disease.

Eriko Isozaki, who comes to the library weekly to borrow children’s books, says the device entertained her son, who seemed fascinated by his blue light.

Many of the library’s subscribers are elderly, and their safety is extremely important to the institution’s administrators.

Many readers used the device when handing over the borrowed books, including 77-year-old subscriber Yasuhito Kobayashi.

“I’m relieved to see them sterilize the books … but I’m not sure how effective this method really is,” he said.

Although Japan has managed to avoid a large number of COVID-19 cases and deaths associated with the disease, as is the case in many countries, it is currently facing the third wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

As of Wednesday, Japan had reported 167.33 cases of coronavirus and 2,458 deaths.