Set up a CO2 monitor lending program at your library
This page has practical info for libraries: finding partner organizations and funders, buying and recalibrating CO2 monitors, and evaluating your program.
Look for handouts, infographics, and other patron-directed information on the patron info page.
Questions to consider for your local context
How will you ensure that underserved people in your community will be included in the rollout of your program?
How many CO2 monitors do you need to circulate in order to pilot your program?
What languages do your library users speak? Are educational materials about CO2 monitors, ventilation, and airborne transmission available in those languages?
Find partner organizations
Consider collaborating with other organizations to maximize the reach and impact of your library's CO2 monitor lending program. Equity isn't just about offering free services but also about reaching people where they are!
Local public health departments (at the municipality, county, or regional level) and public libraries can be great partners; view this 2021 webinar recording "Bringing Public Health and Public Libraries Together" for more info
Businesses and religious organizations
Choose CO2 monitors
CAVI's founders are personally familiar with two CO2 monitors: the Aranet 4 and the CO2 Check. Others are available; we recommend an NDIR sensor (that means non-dispersive infrared sensors). Some questions to keep in mind:
Does the monitor display readings? Some do; others use indicator lights or display results only in a smartphone app.
Does it log data or does it just show the current reading?
Is it easy to get data out of the device for further analysis?
Is it easy to calibrate it against outdoor air?
Does it measure additional variables?
You may find it useful to read this detailed report by researchers from Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha (ICCA-UCLM), Asociación Mesura, University of Colorado at Boulder, and Fundación CEAM:
Villanueva et al., 2021. "Guide about affordable CO2 detectors for COVID-19 prevention." https://bit.ly/monitorsCO2
Calibrate CO2 monitors
The devices you use will come with calibration directions. Generally, you'll calibrate the device by exposing it to outdoor air, where the CO2 ppm is expected to be at steady level close to 420 ppm. You can decide if you want library staff to calibrate sensors routinely, or if you will leave it to patrons to calibrate the sensor when they borrow it.
Evaluate your CO2 monitor lending program
CAVI is developing an evaluation toolkit to measure use of library CO2 monitors and to assess patron satisfaction and environmental health literacy.
Can your collection development budget or your Friends of the Library group support a CO2 monitor lending program without external funding?
The US National Network of Libraries of Medicine has seven Regional Medical Libraries, each of which offers grants. NNLM wants to support library-public health department collaborations.
The US Institue of Museum and Library Services (part of the federal government) has several grant programs related to the pandemic.
IMLS American Rescue Plan to address community needs created/exacerbated by the pandemic
IMLS CARES Act Grants for Museums and Libraries to respond to the pandemic
IMLS Grant Programs page with additional opportunities
The American Library Association gave ALA COVID Library Relief Fund grants in 2021; maybe they will offer similar grants in the future?
Check out your state or province library association; there might be consumer health-oriented grants from your state or regional medical library association too
Maybe your organization already has access to Foundation Directory Online? If not, try FDO Quick Start (the basic, free version)
Consider small local foundations as well as high-profile national ones
Want another pair of eyes on your grant application related to CO2 monitors in libraries?
We'd be happy to read your funding proposal.
What about indoor air quality inside our library?
It would be great to use your CO2 monitors to measure your library's indoor air quality and take action -- perhaps increasing ventilation or adding filtration. You can use the same curated information that you recommend to patrons.
Some venues display live information about CO2 levels in their spaces and on websites. This would be a great advertisement for your library's CO2 monitor lending program!
If you're interested in displaying live CO2 ppm data, you'll want to keep this feature in mind when you are choosing your monitors.