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Dust Jacket Surprises

If you do find mold on the dust jacket, check to make sure the mold has not spread through the dust jacket cover and onto the book itself. If it has not spread, then it is generally safe to:

  1. Discard the dust jacket and the dust jacket cover.
  2. Clean the outside of the book cover with a rag dampened with rubbing alcohol.
  3. Clean books from either side of where the infected book was shelved, as well as the shelf the book had been on, before reshelving the book. For cleaning adjacent books and shelves, use a rag dampened with rubbing alcohol. What this will do is remove any deposits of spores that may be on adjacent books or on the shelf, reducing the chances that your treated book will become reinfected.
  4. After it has dried thoroughly, re-shelve the book.

If the dust jacket was simply moist, set both the dust jacket and the dust jacket cover in a sunny place and/or desiccation chamber where they can dry thoroughly.

Once both are completely dry, reassemble the dust jacket, dust jacket cover, and book.

NOTE: If your library reuses plastic dust jacket covers, never reuse ones whose former dust jackets have been found with mold: this increases the likelihood of mold spreading to the next dust jacket.


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.