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Step 3: Look Under the Dust Jacket – if There is One

If the book you are examining has a dust jacket, gently turn back the front and back covers and look between the outer book covers and the inside of the dust jacket. You may need to remove the dust jacket entirely to properly examine its underside. You’re still looking for signs of moisture exposure as well as other marks. Often mold will show up as white, gray or black “dusty-looking” marks, but remember that mold can grow in any color of the rainbow.

If you have not found anything suspicious yet, the book is probably fine; however, it is important to continue – there may be hidden “treasures” from a previous patron that will at least need cleanup, if not more serious attention. If you see something unusual under the dust jacket, or if the dust jacket shows signs of water damage, you may need to investigate the dust jacket further, as discussed in step 5.

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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.