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There's a Fungus Among Us!

Books are exposed to numerous mold species in their travels. As a result, no single example adequately defines what to look for when examining books for mold. These images are intended as a general guide. Identification of mold species is a topic for another, far more exhaustive and technical web site.

Usually, moisture damage is an indicator for closer examination; mold can grow between a dust jacket and a book’s cover without being seen until damage is extensive, with the risk that mold has spread to other books in your collection.

Sometimes a book may show no signs of moisture damage and still be infected with mold, for example, when someone has spilled food inside a book, or when the book has been kept in a location with high humidity. Regular inspection of books in your collection is necessary to catch these instances of mold infection early.

As seen in this section, mold can take on many forms and grow on any part of a book made of organic material. Visual, touch, and smell-based cues are used to identify whether suspicious marks are mold or result from other sources like dirt, artist materials or food stains.

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Books Gone Bad - Mold in Library Collections was a project sponsored by Maine College of Art, in partnership with the Joanne Waxman Library. Funding for this project came from the Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation. The Project Lead and Artist for this project was Diane J. Wren. All contents Copyright © 2011 by Diane J. Wren. All rights reserved. No part of this web site may be reproduced or distributed in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, or stored in a data base or retrieval system, without the prior written permission of Diane J. Wren.