Zoom Tips for Libraries (updated 4/28/20)

There's been a lot of press on the privacy concerns related to Zoom and this has made a lot of library folks nervous. But the truth is, Zoom is a great tool and it would be a shame not to use it. Especially now. The key is to use it right.  So, below please find tips to using Zoom safely whether you are using the free version or not and whether you are the host or a guest.  These have been collected from several different sources listed at the end. You might want to check them out to get a fuller understanding of how to implement the recommendations.  But if you are familiar with Zoom, this quickie list may be all your need!

Recommended Account Settings 

  • Join before Host - OFF
  • Mute participants upon entry - ON
  • Private Chat - OFF
  • File transfer - OFF
  • Allow host to put attendee on hold - ON
  • Screen sharing - ON with “Host Only” 
  • Disable desktop/screenshare for users - ON
  • Annotation - OFF
  • Remote Control - OFF
  • Allow removed participants to rejoin - OFF
  • Waiting Room - ON
  • Attention Tracking -OFF

When Hosting a Zoom Meeting 

  • Use downloaded, most current version, rather than Web version
  • Password protect meeting (use a Meeting ID plus Password)
  • Generate a New Meeting ID rather than using your own Personal Meeting ID
  • Use “Lock Meeting” after your participants have arrived
  • Under Manage Participants, use Mute All to mute participants
  • Under Share Screen, choose Only Host so only you can share your screen
  • Make sure people know if you are recording chat or video of the meeting

When Participating in a Zoom Meeting

  • Turn off your video and audio by default
  • Stay muted when you are not speaking
  • Under Preferences, choose Virtual Background (if available)
  • Be aware that your chats (public and private) could be saved by your host

Additional Library Best Practices for Engaging with Patrons on Zoom

  • Virtual Background for staff - On
  • Invite patrons to a Zoom meeting with a unique Meeting ID and Password
  • Never record Video sessions with patrons
  • Delete any personally identifiable information from Chat sessions
  • Lock meeting after your patron has arrived
  • Patrons should be informed they can keep their video off and still participate and also be told how to mute
  • If you need the patron to screen share, you can do so as long as you have their permission.


    Mozilla Foundation: https://foundation.mozilla.org/en/blog/tips-make-your-zoom-gatherings-more-private/

    PC Magazine: https://www.pcmag.com/how-to/how-to-prevent-zoom-bombing

    Santa Barbara City College: http://sbcc.edu/it/zoom/zoom-bomb.php




    Updated (March 26) Findings Related to Safe Library Materials Handling Practices

    As of today, it again appears that quarantining library material for 3 days is likely enough time for any coronavirus contamination to breakdown to the point that any detectable amounts of the virus wouldn't cause disease. The original study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine (and to which everyone refers) is here:

    Aerosol and Surface Stability of SARS-CoV-2 as Compared with SARS-CoV-1

    After a report came out indicating that the virus was detected in a passenger ship 17 days after passengers had left the ship put these numbers into question.  But based on a recent interview in The Guardian with two experts, we now understand that the some component of the virus was detected after 17 days but it wouldn't have been dangerous because it was no longer intact.  In other words, it is still safe to say (it seems) that the virus isn't dangerous on anything after 72 hours.

    Here's the latest article (interview) that supports the findings in published in NEJM:  How long does coronavirus survive on different surfaces?

    I'm keeping track of all these articles under the Safety tag on QuarantineLibrarianship.org.

    Using the ILS to Support Safe Policies: Set Items to Quarantine Status Upon Return

    I've suggested that the prudent approach to dealing with returned material is to quarantine everything for three days before anyone deals with it.  MARCH 24, 2020 UPDATE:  Three days may not be enough. I'd rather staff didn't handle any returns for X days at all, not even to check them in. But at some point, we are going to be moving into a "less closed" situation and libraries will want to do a bit more circulating of library material.  Some locations might still be doing some limited circulation such as filling holds and providing for curbside pick-up.  In my state of California, we aren't doing that since we are in complete lockdown but down the road, providing for limited holds fulfillment and curbside pick-up may make sense.

    So, how do you implement limited and safe circulation. Well, one approach is offered by Andrew Fuerste-Henry. His library is using Koha so they may have more flexibility than some libraries. But since he is just recommending creating a new item status with some business rules applied, I'm guessing this can work for most, if not all, ILSs.

    Here's his suggestion for how to create and set a quarantine status upon the return of library items:  https://bywatersolutions.com/education/set-items-to-quarantine-status-upon-return.

    Materials Handling Considerations During COVID-19 Closures

    I'm seeing a lot of discussion about how libraries are modifying their services to address the COVID-19 outbreak.  The obvious first step is to provide more virtual services. There are lots of lists with free online resources for kids and ways for librarians to keep learning and we've developed this website, Quarantine Librarianship, so we can identify some of the best, nationally oriented, resources, keep up with current online events pertinent to the crisis, and to offer up some good solutions and best practices.  Finally, there's a discussion forum there for anyone who wants to talk about whatever!  But what I haven't seen enough of, is how libraries are dealing with - and should be dealing with - physical, library material.

    When dealing with library material, the first question we need to ask is how safe is it for staff to handle library returns. The answer to that question is we really don't know.  I've only found two articles that give us a clue (https://quarantinelibrarianship.org/tags/safety) and they both cite the same study, Aerosol and Surface Stability of SARS-CoV-2 as Compared with SARS-CoV-1.  From this study, we could extrapolate how long the virus might survive on the pages of a library book because it addresses how long the virus survives on cardboard. Close enough?  Maybe not but that's all we've got so far!

    According to a March 17, 2020 NY Times article, How Long Will Coronavirus Live on Surfaces or in the Air Around You?, the study suggests that "the virus disintegrates over the course of the day on cardboard, lessening the worry among consumers that deliveries will spread the virus..."   What it means to disintegrate over the course of the day is also not well-defined but they do say this:

    On cardboard, it survives up to 24 hours, which suggests packages that arrive in the mail should have only low levels of the virus — unless the delivery person has coughed or sneezed on it or has handled it with contaminated hands.

    The study finds that the virus lives longest on plastic (DVD cases?) and steel, surviving up to 72 hours.

    NPR published an article on March 14 citing the same study (it was in preprint at the time) entitled "The New Coronavirus Can Live On Surfaces For 2-3 Days - Here's How to Clean Them."  From this article (and many others), we can learn how to disinfect hard plastic surfaces like our media cases and the outside of books.  The best idea is probably a solution of at least 60% isopropyl alcohol since the other oft-cited disinfectant (bleach) is probably going to be too hard on the book covers.

    But even if staff clean the covers, we've got the issue of the inside of the books.  No one is going to disinfect the pages.  Even with media, cleaning the case is great but the inside of the case and the media itself is also a "hard surface" and I can't imagine staff sitting around disinfecting all that.

    So, what to do with returns?  My recommendation is that you leave them alone for three days.

    When your library closes, lock the book drops, tell people NOT to return anything, and just let everything sit for three (amount of time needed is still unclear) days.  After three days of not being handled, the study suggests that the virus would not still be alive on surfaces, even hard surfaces like counters and media cases.  So, after three days, staff could return to the library without having to be nervous about getting contaminated by any surfaces in the workroom or in the entire library (if you've actually kept the library unoccupied for three days).

    Bookdrops could be emptied and material from there could also be checked in as long as it has been locked for at least three days.  

    The key to the three-day rule is not having any new exposed person or object coming into the space. So, if you have staff working in the library during closures, it will be important to follow the CDC Guidelines about sanitizing surfaces keeping 6-feet apart from other people. 

    But let's go a little deeper on that 6-foot rule. What staying 6 feet apart accomplishes is that it ensures that when you sneeze, your sneeze droplets don't smack your workmate in the face or anywhere else that might end up infecting them. And vice versa.  But the 6-foot rule doesn't really address the airborne virus.

    Going back to that NY Times article, they cite two more articles. One, entitled "Aerodynamic Characteristics and RNA Concentration of SARS-COV-2 Aerosol in Wuhan Hospitals during COVID-19 Outbreak" is not yet published.  The other, published March 4, 2020 entitled "Air, Surface Environmental, and Personal Protective Equipment Contamination by Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrom Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) From a Symptomatic Patient."  These two articles address the degree to which the virus stays in the air.  The second article focuses on conditions in hospitals where people are very sick and explains why the need for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for our medical professionals is so important.  It has some scary findings but they aren't all that pertinent to our library situation assuming you aren't letting anyone come into the library who is showing ANY symptoms.

    But even the first article, which addresses how long potentially dangerous particles stay in the air. Based on the doctor who downplayed the danger the least, Dr. Marr, it takes the virus about 34 minutes to fall from a height of six feet (sneeze height for your tallest staff?).  So, while they don't think airborne transmission is likely, there haven't been enough studies to say it isn't happening at all. That's how I read the studies anyway!

    Given that...how many people would you want working in your backroom checking in books?  Probably just one is my answer!

    Summary: If I were running a library, I would be quarantining my material for three days and also quarantining the check-in room for three days.  After three days at least, I might send one person per shift to catch up on the backlog so when we start returning to normal, you don't have to start with a huge pile of returns to contend with. 

    If this goes on long enough this cycle could be repeated.  Accept returns for some number of days and then lock the bookdrops, quarantine everything again for three days and check them in again.

    I won't address check-outs in this blog post because I don't see any way to safely do that today unless you only check-out previously quarantined material.  But even if you limit check-outs to "clean" material, we probably don't want to encourage people to come out of their "shelter" right now.  Feel free to offer up your ideas on our  Discussion Forum. I'd love to hear what you've learned that I've missed!

    UPDATE MARCH 24,2020:  Per this study,  https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6912e3.htm?s_cid=mm6912e3_w,  the virus may be surviving much longer than 3 days on certain surfaces so a safe quarantine period is very much in question at this point. We will continue to post updates on this topic at https://quarantinelibrarianship.org/tags/safety.

    One Equity Partners sells Smartrac RFID business - What does this mean for libraries? And Bibliotheca?

    It's been awhile since something shook up the library RFID marketplace but this is something to watch. Smartrac,Technologies, based in the Netherlands, is one of the primary suppliers of library RFID tags (HF tags). One Equity Partners is the equity firm that owns Smartrac.  One Equity Partners is the same firm that owns Bibliotheca.  So, that means that One Equity Partners is getting out of the RFID business.  My question is whether that means One Equity Partner will soon want to get out of the library business as well?  I say this because Bibliotheca was originally very much focused on providing RFID solutions to libraries. Of course, with the acquisition of 3M, they have shifted their focus from RFID (to some extent) to the Cloud Library and more recently they've been pushing their Open Library product pretty hard - neither of these two products are RFID-based.  So maybe I'm worrying for nothing. But I'll be keeping an eye on One Equity Partners just in case.

    The other worrying thing for me is that HF RFID technology isn't exploding the way UHF technology is.  HF technology is used in payment cards, ticketing systems, and libraries. NFC (used on your smartphone) is a form of HF RFID.  But it is UHF that is growing by leaps and bounds.  UHF RFID is used with IoT products (Internet of Things) including clothing and shoes (https://www.nanalyze.com/2019/02/smart-shoes-digitally-connected/). And, of course, UHF is the RFID tag used in the supply chain.  Whatever cool new "smart" thing you hear about, chances are it is based on UHF technologies. 

    WiFi Hot Spots Available for Check-out

    Two Galecia clients (possibly more!) are now offering mobile hotspots that patrons can borrow. These hotspots come with an unlimited plan so you can take them anywhere and get connected to the Internet.  Both libraries report the new service is wildly popular!

    Sonoma County Library Home Page 

    Sonoma County Library (https://sonomalibrary.org/) has 500 units available.  Their program, SonomaFi, is a pilot program so far.  Funded from Measure Y sales tax funds. The service provider is Verizon.  Each hotspot is available for 14 days and if the borrower neglects to return it, the service is deactivated (which evidently helps get the units returned promptly!)  

    Sonoma County has also created an excellent video showing patrons how to use their HotSpots - check out the nice cases that are included!  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AawPH22CibE&feature=youtu.be


    Charleston County (https://www.ccpl.org) is offering the same program but with service from Sprint. So far no groovy videos. Their program is courtesy of a grant from the South Carolina State Library.


    Bookpoints - Podcast with ByWater Solutions about our Open Source Summer Reading Software

    My pals at ByWater Solutions invited me to talk about our open source summer reading software, Bookpoints. Jessamyn West has been working with us as we complete our 2017 version of the software so I invited her to join me so we could all have an open source love fest.  Listen to the podcast here:  http://libraryisopen.com/bookpoints-podcast/.

    And if you've never heard of Bookpoints....well!  It's the summer reading program software we created in partnership with California Library Association and Library of Virginia.  It is inspired by the good work of Maricopa County's Great Reading Adventure (GRA). We are hosting around 25 libraries in California who will be using Bookpoints for the second year.  Library of Virginia hosting another cohort that has also been working with us since the early GRA days. Our project page is readingbydesign.org.

    Are 2x3 RFID tags better than 2x2 tags?

    Thought I'd share this Q&A I had with someone via email in case you have the same question!  - Lori

    Q: I am struggling to find data comparing the performances of  the 2" square tags vs. the 2"x 3" tags. Are you aware of any studies comparing the two?
    I've heard anecdotal evidence from a nearby college that the 2x3 tags are significantly better [they abandoned using the squares altogether] but I'm not finding much on the topic.

    Many thanks for any information your can share.

    A:  The general rule of thumb is that the larger the antenna, the longer the range.  So the 2x3 is going to give you a bit better performance than the 2x2 since the antenna actually runs around the other edge of the tag. 

    There are two reasons you might prefer a 2x2 tag despite the inferior performance:

    1) they obscure less of the cover art 

    2) with DVDs in cases where you want to pair the tag on the case and the full coverage tag on the disc (e.g. X-Range or Stingray tag). Because the disc tag is about the same size as the disc, it leaves little room to add a tag on the case without having the two tags overlapping (which causes interference).  So, using a square tag in the corner in combination with the full coverage disc tag works best. Tagging this way is recommended since you can use the RFID system to verify that the right disc is in the right case thereby reducing the need to open the case.

    Lori Ayre's Post Election Thoughts

    Today I have done a lot of reading and soul searching. Here's where I've landed so far:

    This election had a large racist component and it was at least partially a backlash to President Obama.

    This election was a flail on the part of rural Americans who feel no one cares about them and their concerns and that America doesn't understand nor respect the institutions that underpin their communities.


    Collaborative Librarianship Gets a Much Needed Facelift

    I've been writing the Technology Matters column for the online journal, Collaborative Librarianship, for the last few years.  It is a good way to force me to organize my thoughts. I try to post the columns here but they don't always make it so if you want to read them all, I encourage you to visit the groovy new website.