Monday, June 09, 2008

Dirty Keyboards and Clean Hands

We don't like to think about it, but public access computers are notoriously difficult to clean and keep clean. The Waterloo Public Library computers see as many as 8,000 sessions a month; that's 80,000 fingers and thumbs spreading germs and bacteria.

Tests show that even personal keyboards in office environments are typically infested with such nasty bugs as e coli and even staphylococcus aurea. Unfortunately, comprehensive cleaning of our 30 keyboards would require the removal and disinfection of some 3,030 key caps, each of which would be immediately reinfected by the next user with dirty fingers.

If you're concerned about possibility of infection, (we are unaware of any infections in the last decade of use) and wish to protect yourself, always wash your hands thoroughly after using a computer, and avoid touching your eyes, mouth, or nose until your hands are clean.

If you wish to clean your keyboard before use, ask for a disinfectant wipe at the Reference Island. When you're done using the computer, help yourself to a squirt from our jug of hand sanitizer, also at the Reference Island. We can't promise you clean keyboards, but we can help you to keep your hands clean.

c 2008 Waterloo Public Library

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