A Better Solution for Cleaning the Library
When I worked at the library, I loved my shift in the Children’s room. Especially during those quiet lulls that happened throughout the day, long after storytime but before the after school rush, or right around dinnertime on a weeknight. Downtime in the Children’s room was peaceful: a chance to read through gorgeous new picture books to put on display or pull for storytime; straighten collapsed shelves in the J fiction section and see which new series were gaining in popularity; and push in chairs that only come up to my knee. However, one task I never looked forward to was cleaning the play area!
My library had a variety of tactile playtime experiences and stations — from the stationary kitchenette and train table to the constantly rotating toy collection. Your library may have something similar, as well as brick-building walls, bead mazes, literacy stations, makerspaces, and more. Keeping these items organized could be a challenge, but actually cleaning them — really cleaning them — was a task unto itself.
I’m not arguing the importance of a clean play area at the library. Nobody wants to get hand-foot-mouth disease. Rather, the hard part was keeping up with everything that needed to be sanitized as frequently as required. The kitchenette was full of plastic pots, pans, cups, and plates, not to mention all of the fake food products that would find themselves under tables and scattered across the play area.
Throughout the day, staff in the Children’s room would spot-clean when a toy or block rolled through the dust bunnies under a shelf or a parent handed over an item still wet with slobber. At the end of every day, the staff person closing the Children’s room was also responsible for gathering loose play pieces and giving them a good scrub or soak to disinfect.
We used a spray bottle of cleaning solution that smelled strongly of bleach and left behind a sticky grime and the question of whether the item was cleaner before its chemical bath. Each piece was spritzed and wiped as best as possible, but objects have crevices that can’t always be reached. The larger play areas were wiped down with disinfecting wipes, but often required four or five wipes per surface to really clean away the grime.
All this to say, I was extremely excited to learn about the Vray UV Sterilizer which cleans and sterilizes objects in about 10 seconds. It’s cordless and portable, which means it could be used to quickly clean the larger surfaces of the kitchenette. The bridging design of the Vray means that it can be used hands-free. Each of those plastic plates and fake food pieces could be placed underneath in a cleaning tub and sanitized all at once, one side at a time.
Cleaning the play area was definitely what I had in mind when I learned about the Vray, but the very first thing I sanitized with the Vray was my phone! I’m sure you can think of many other items around the library that come into contact with the public. Patron computers… Books with unidentifiable stains… The phone at the Reference desk… The Teen room… Whatever you’re thinking about, the Vray can sanitize it.
Spend less time thinking about where those plastic pieces have been and more time flipping through the picture books.
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