Monday, August 20, 2012

IAQ policy a good idea in libraries and archives

Libraries and archives can expose
people to poor indoor air quality.
When you think about libraries and archives, do the words “bright”, “fresh” and “green” come to mind?

Probably not.

Many libraries and archives are large, dust-filled rooms stacked with books, papers and other materials.

They can be cluttered, dark and dingy – and many of them also have a problem with their indoor air quality.

In fact, IAQ is such a concern that some libraries and archives have implemented an indoor air quality policy.

In the case of the University of Florida library, the policy was introduced after people complained about health concerns, including eye and lung irritation, headaches, skin irritation, exposure to diseases and more.

Since there can be many different reasons for indoor air pollution (the most common are faulty HVAC systems, construction and renovation projects, forbidden smoking, the use of chemicals and mold), the policy addresses various issues and the best ways to handle them.

How to handle IAQ problems in libraries

The IAQ policy stresses the importance of communication, which will allow all sides to take action towards better air.

First, the people who are affected by poor indoor air quality or who notice it should be reporting it promptly.

Most universities have an environmental health and safety department, and there should also be a contact in the library itself.

Second, all staff members have to be informed in a timely manner of planned renovation or construction projects and the possible risks associated with them. Everyone should work together to minimize those risks and find safer alternatives.

Third, the library and archive facilities should be inspected regularly, and any types of problems need to be addressed.

What do you think of the indoor air quality at your library? Let us know what your area is doing right and how it can improve.

Source: George A. Smathers Libraries

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Electrocorp’s air cleaners for libraries and archives feature the most comprehensive filtration system to deal with the pollutants listed above.

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