Friday, December 5, 2014

Library tested for mold problems

Excess mold in libraries can affect the
health and well-being of staff and visitors
and damage inventory.
Testing was underway after mold was found on a heating and cooling vent at the University of Missouri’s Ellis Library recently.

Environmental Health and Safety tested the area after the fungus was found and confirmed it was mold, according to a notice from library administrators. The vent was in the special collections area of the fourth floor.

“While we have confirmed there is mold in the area, that doesn’t mean anything,” Environmental Health and Safety Director Todd Houts said.

“Mold is in the air everywhere. It becomes an issue when there’s a lot. We’re not sure how much there is yet.”

Houts said workers set up “traps” to collect samples of the mold throughout the week. Later this week or early next week, environmental staff will examine the collected mold spores.

“Mold has a bad name because when people talk about it, they’re usually talking about extreme situations, but mold is present practically everywhere,” Houts said.

There is no imminent threat from the mold found in the library, he said, and no history of mold problems inside the library.

The notice from the library was sent to library staff, members of the Library Committee and the MU Faculty Council, library spokeswoman Shannon Cary said in an email.

“Environmental Health and Safety will be performing additional inspections and tests to make sure all affected areas are identified,” the notice reads.

“Any affected areas will be cleaned immediately by Campus Facilities, and other air ducts in Ellis Library will be cleaned as needed. In addition, MU Libraries administration is working with the Office of Energy Management to make sure that proper temperature and humidity levels are maintained at Ellis Library and the specialized libraries at all times.”

Last fall, mold damaged about 600,000 books the university had in off-site underground storage. Most were saved, with cleanup paid for through grants and a self-insurance fund.

Source: Columbia Daily Tribune.

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