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Step 1: Examine the Outside of the Book

Look for signs that the book has gotten damp – either recently or in the past. Page edges could be wavy, or there could be stains on the book’s exterior that look like something spilled or seeped onto the book. If the book is still damp, further treatment is needed even if you are sure that no mold growth is present. Go to the section on Treatment for more specific information.

Look for marks that appear different from the usual dirt and shelf wear that books encounter. These can be indicators of mold. Most mold growths start as a result of exposure to moisture. Most books get wet on the outer edges first; thus, most mold in books is found growing from the outer edges in. If the book has been exposed to moisture, then at one time it was a potential site for mold spores to grow.

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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.