Thursday, September 19, 2013

Mold damages books in Maryland library

Thousands of books affected by mold

Staff and patrons may be exposed
to mold spores in affected libraries.
Image courtesy of Paul/
Library staff members have closed an entire floor of the McKeldin library, one of the main libraries of the University of Maryland, until further notice after discovering an outbreak of nontoxic mold in August.

Thousands of books were affected by the mold, a library spokesman said. Staff workers had noticed small amounts of mold for three years.

Library staff and a specialized contractor will clean all the shelves, and every book on the floor will be wiped down and vacuumed, a process that could take months.

Authorities listed various reasons for the mold damage, including

  • high summer temperatures
  • inefficient heating, ventilation and ventilation system
  • high humidity

Libraries generally maintain about 50 percent relative humidity. At the McKeldin library at the time of the outbreak, that number had risen to 75 percent.

Facilities Management workers brought in dehumidifiers to reduce the humidity, adjusting the air conditioning controls and checking that all the monitors work correctly.

The mold exposure has been contained to that one floor, the spokesman said, and it is unlikely that staff will have to dispose of any affected books.

The bulk of the cleaning is scheduled to begin in October.

There are no immediate plans to change or update the heating and air conditioning system on a large scale.

Source: The Diamondback

Remove mold and contaminated air in libraries and archives

Libraries are housing thousands of books and they often suffer from poor indoor air quality due to outdated HVAC systems and humidity problems.

Updating or fixing HVAC systems can be expensive, but library staff and facility management can help improve indoor air quality by using portable air cleaners with the right types of air filters.

Electrocorp has designed a range of indoor air cleaning systems for libraries and archives that feature UV germicidal filtration for mold spores and biological contaminants, HEPA filters for particles and dust and activated carbon walls for chemicals and odors.

Contact an Electrocorp IAQ specialist for more information and a personalized recommendation.

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