Some of our books are being returned drenched in cigarette smoke. I ended up spraying them with Febreeze. Does anyone have a solution to this problem?
You might try putting the book(s) in a plastic box with an opened box of baking soda.
Martha Jo Dendinger
First Baptist Atlanta
You might try putting the book in a large bag, standing up with pages fanned out, with crumpled newspaper in the bag for several days. Heloise (syndicated household hists advisor) says newpaper absorbs odor. She usually recommends this for smelly ice chests. Charcoal is also known for absorbing odor, but not sure how that would work with bookpages - might leave coal marks. Maybe try the charcoal wrapped loosly in the crumpled newspaper? After using it, you can still bar-b-que with the coals, so it's cost nothing.
I would also track down the particular patrons who are returning them in this condition, and let them know as nicely as possible that the books are coming back this way, and it's creating a problem for the library and the next patrons who borrow the books. The smoker probably does not realize how bad it is; they often have very dulled sense of smell from smoking. An option would be to include a ziplock bag with the books the person is borrowing, and ask them to keep the books (zipped) inside the back while they aren't reading them. That will at least prevent the books from absorbing odor while they're in the bag. It might help some.
It is a problem for us at times, too. However, our main culprit is no longer able to visit the church library and she really needs to be reading Christian Literature. Thank you for these wonderful suggestions for eliminating the odor.
I did a google search on removing cigarette odor, and the use of ozone seemed to be the most effective method. The cost of a commercial ozone generator is probably out range for a library. Using Google I did a search for build 03 generator and found several interesting articles for building a generator for $20-$30. There are some electrical and chemical health hazards in such a project, but you might know someone that likes to tinker. You would need a confined place to treat books. One suggested use for ozone was to remove odors from automobiles, and that might work for books too.
I realize that the use of ozone is probably not practical, but I had fun using Google. Have you tried calling the reference desk at your public library?.