Wash your hands before you read


January 16, 2015 by Beth - I SNIFF BOOKS blog

As much as I LOVE to read, I admit that sometimes (lots of time really) library books weird me out. And the sticker below sums up my sentiments perfectly:

Sticker affixed on the library check-out card pocket in the back of the book.

Sticker affixed on the library check-out card pocket in the back of the book.

SO MANY people check out library books and bring them into their homes. And all those people carry those books home in their HANDS! Are those hands dirty or clean?!

I fully admit that I’m weird and I have issues. I’m working on it. But really, we’d all be so much better off if everyone washed their hands before doing IMPORTANT things like touching, handling, and reading books!

Beyond the obvious mystery stains (ugh!) that unfortunately pepper the pages of some library books, it’s all the invisible stuff that weirds me out — sneezes and coughs trapped between the pages, funky odors, and wondering if there are traces of bathroom business on the pages because someone FAILED to wash his/her hands after using the loo.

I do have a bit of normal inside me and there have been occasions where I have been nearly normal and enjoyed reading a proper library book. Case in point my epic re-read of Charley (also published as The Girl Who Ran Away). But truth be told, I do have a hard time cozying up at length with a library book. I mostly borrow children’s picture books, and sometimes cookbooks, from the library.

I used to wipe down (with Lysol of course) the exteriors of library books before I read them — you’d be amazed at what comes off on the paper towel. But again, there is no safe way to cleanse the library book pages of visible and invisible goo! Much to my surprise, I’ve discontinued sanitizing the book exteriors. Instead, I have one dedicated spot where I read library books — our kitchen island. Upon finishing, the library book goes promptly back into the library bag (a silly form of quarantine I suppose!), I wash my hands, I spray and wipe down the counter, and I wash my hands again. Weird. I know.

So tell me, what are your WEIRD feelings and habits when it comes to library books?

As a side note, borrowed library e-books are ALWAYS clean because they are intangible. 


5 thoughts on “Wash your hands before you read

  1. I’m not keen on library books now after reading this post! ha ha 🙂

  2. I can so relate to that library sticker and library books and wanting people to wash their hands before they touch them. I am an elementary librarian who is a germaphobe and do I see a lot! I think people who are not germaphobes do not “see” the dirt/germs or just don’t think about them. I used to not worry about germs because I never thought about them but not now…I even have a blog where I call myself Germaphobe Girl. I remind my students often in library class about not spreading their germs. Kids are germy. They put their fingers in their mouths and noses and then touch books, crayons, computers, etc. in the library. When I see it I try to have them use hand sanitizer or wash their hands but there is not enough time to do this every time and I have to overlook it sometimes too. I am constantly washing my hands. And my library aide wipes the library books off from time to time but you are right about not being able to wipe the inside pages off. I used to check out books from the public library but haven’t since I became a germaphobe. I can’t imagine crawling into a clean bed with a germy book. I prefer buying new books for my personal reading. If I do bring a book home from school I keep it in a certain area of my house as well but I’m kind of envious of the kids just checking out the books and not worrying about the germs though…this used to be me!

    • isniffbooks says:

      Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment! I also wish I could just be carefree and not worry about germs! It must be a personal challenge for you to work in a library (and around kids) if you are germaphobe.

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