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There are a few things you can do to limit the liklihood that mold will be a problem in your library:

  1. Inspect pipes where water condenses. Either insulate them so that condensation does not build up or put up barriers so that condensation does not drip onto books in your library.
  2. Don’t pack books too tightly on shelves. Allowing space on the shelves encourages air circulation, which in turn reduces the chances of spores settling on books.
  3. Act quickly when water damage occurs, or when you find foods, beverages, or other materials that could mold in your books.
  4. Train staff to identify suspicious books and respond to situations that could encourage mold growth.
  5. If your library has a problem with leaks, address them immediately.
  6. If a leak occurs, have the leak repaired. Thoroughly dry any carpeting, furnishings and books that have gotten wet, with plenty of air circulation.
  7. Depending upon the extent of leaks, carpeting and furnishings may need removal or replacement. Professionals may be needed to help with cleanup, and to ensure the area is fully dry.

If you notice chronic issues with leaks or damp, you may be facing a compromised building. Addressing such a situation is essential to ensure the health of you, your staff, your patrons, and your library collection.


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.