As a pandemic prevention measure, Makkah’s Grand Mosque library has adopted the use of ozone technology and devices to disinfect their collection of historical manuscripts and books.

With 15 sections, the library provides digital, audio, and internet services, housing a collection of rare books that date back to the second century of the Hijri calendar, such as “Al-Mustatab,” “Majmaa Al-Anhur Fi Sharh Multaqa Al-Abhur,” and “Al-Ashbah Wal Nazaer.”

After visitors and researchers have accessed them, all books undergo disinfection using advanced technology, according to Khaled Al-Zahrani, the leader of the library’s sanitization unit.

According to him, “The device can hold up to 100 books placed side by side, and it takes around eight hours to disinfect and eliminate bacteria and other harmful substances from all the books.”

Al-Zahrani clarified that the sanitization unit receives the books periodically, and they are transported in fully sealed vehicles before being placed directly inside the cleaning device. After the disinfection process, the books are returned to their designated areas.

He explained that the device functions by drawing in oxygen and converting it into ozone rays, which aids in maintaining the quality of the paper and achieving complete disinfection.

Maintaining control over the environment within cultural collection buildings has long been acknowledged as the most effective method for preserving these artifacts. Ozone gas, which contains potent oxidants that can eliminate microorganisms, including certain bacteria and viruses, is one such measure. Furthermore, unlike many industrial cleaning solutions, it does not leave any toxic residue.

Adel Eid, the head of the manuscripts department at the Grand Mosque library, explained that the device serves three primary purposes: disinfection using ozone rays, suction-based dust removal, and gentle dusting with a dedicated pad to maintain the manuscripts’ condition.

According to Ayman Al-Sahli, the director of the library’s services department, the library has welcomed over 1,900 visitors since reopening after the Umrah’s resumption.

Al-Sahli mentioned that the reading gallery has seen an average of over 50 visitors per hour, while the hall has been set up to accommodate between 15 and 20 people to adhere to the necessary protocols.

The library offers ample reading spaces for both genders, as well as children’s desk services, translation and research centers, state-of-the-art storage facilities, folder delivery and receipt, unique collections, and multimedia tools. Additionally, it provides specialized services utilizing the latest scientific methods, such as a manuscripts and digital library, a department dedicated to the rehabilitation and restoration of historical manuscripts, and ample administrative space.