Anyone who has ever worked in a library could probably tell you that wiping down the covers of the books in the children’s section is one of the most grimy and disgusting tasks you could ever be assigned. I’d personally rather clean the toilets with a wet wipe to be quite honest! Thankfully, in order to counteract at least the living layer of grime found on these and other books, many libraries in Japan have installed a Bacteria Elimination Box to kill off any harmful little microbes that previous patrons might have left behind. It’s the perfect piece of equipment for bibliophilic germaphobes exploring the stacks!
Using the Bacteria Elimination Box is simple and free for everyone. Just open the door and place your book on one of the shelves. Close the door again and hit the on switch in the top right corner. If you see a blue glow through the window on the left, that means it’s working. The extermination process only takes 45 seconds, and while your book may not look any different when you take it out, it should be relatively germless. Plus, the whole process somehow reminds us of the cool containment unit they used to have in the movie Ghost Busters…
The blue glow within the box accompanies the emission of bacteria eliminating UV rays. According to one of the managers at Kihara Corporation, the company that manufactures these boxes, the box is effective against Yellow Staphylococcus, E. Coli, and other microorganisms, as well as the influenza virus.
It would seem that these bacteria killing rays only work on the outside cover of the book, but thankfully, the covers are what need it the most. According to an inspection of library books, more than 99 percent of germs are located on the books’ covers, rather than the inside. It makes sense, since you don’t exactly hold a book by its pages, even when reading it.
Although Kihara Corporation began manufacturing the Bacteria Elimination Box back in 2004, there are many library patrons who are still unaware of their existence. Hopefully, as the word gets out and an increasing number of public and school libraries install these machines, more people will make use of their antibacterial protection. By the time cold and flu season rolls around, we can probably expect quite a queue, especially in the children’s book section.
Source: Excite News (Japanese)
Images: HDW ( books , bacteria ), Kihara Corporation