Grand Mosque library uses ozone tech to preserve manuscripts

Saturday, December 12, 2020

MAKKAH: The library of the Makkah’s Grand Mosque is using ozone technology and ozone-based devices to disinfect historical manuscripts and books as part of its measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease.

The library, which has 15 sections, offers digital, audio and internet services. It contains rare books dating back to the Hijri second century, including “Al-Mustatab,” “Majmaa Al-Anhur Fi Sharh Multaqa Al-Abhur” and “Al-Ashbah Wal Nazaer.”

Khaled Al-Zahrani, head of the sanitization unit in the library, said that all books were disinfected using modern technology after being read by visitors and researchers.
“The device accommodates 100 books, placed next to each other and its takes approximately eight hours to disinfect all books and clean them from bacteria and harmful substances,” he said.

Al-Zahrani explained that the unit receives the books periodically, where they are transported through fully packaged transport vehicles, placed directly inside the device for cleaning and then returned to their intended areas.

He said that the device worked by withdrawing oxygen into it and then converting it into ozone rays, which contributed to the preservation of the quality of the paper and its complete disinfection.

The control of the environment in buildings that house cultural collections has long been recognized as the best measure to insure the preservation of such objects. Ozone gas is high in oxidants that are able to kill microorganisms, including some bacteria and viruses. In addition, it does not leave toxic residue behind, unlike many industrial cleaning solutions.

Adel Eid, head of the manuscripts department at the Grand Mosque library, said that the device had three main functions: Ozone-ray disinfection, dust removal through suction, and dusting using a smooth dedicated pad to preserve the manuscripts.

Ayman Al-Sahli, director of the library’s services department, said that the library had received more than 1,900 visitors since its opening after the resumption of Umrah.
He said that the number of visitors in the reading gallery exceeded 50 people an hour, and the hall accommodated between 15 and 20 people in line with the required procedures.

The library has enough reading spaces for both men and women, children’s desk services, translation and research centers, high-tech storage, delivery and receipt of folders, special collections and multimedia tools — as well as specialized services using the latest scientific methods, a manuscripts and digital library, a department for rehabilitation and restoration of ancient manuscripts and adequate administrative space.