Libraries to end materials quarantine, including reserves, as of June 1

May 28, 2021

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State University Libraries will end its precautionary practice of quarantining returned materials starting Tuesday, June 1. Borrowed library items that have been returned to any University Libraries location will again be processed in a timely manner for access by other library users, including course materials on reserve that are available for short-term checkouts.

“We are looking forward to resuming more normal library materials return practices this summer. Ending materials quarantine will allow us to process and circulate materials to our users more efficiently,” said Meg Massey, interim head of Access Services for University Libraries. “We are working on additional process changes to return to a more standard approach to operations later this summer.”

A University Libraries leadership team first recommended the practice of quarantining returned materials in summer 2020, given available COVID-19 information and best practices of materials handling known at that time. In fall 2020, Libraries on-site employees discontinued the practice of quarantining mailed items after major mailing and shipping services stated they would no longer hold materials in isolation out of an abundance of caution.

More recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released additional information regarding the virus’s generally low risk of surface transmission, allowing for the cancellation of the materials quarantine. This decision is similar to changes occurring at other academic research libraries across the country. 

Last Updated May 28, 2021