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Libraries are often located in older buildings or basements. Plumbing leaks, indoor climate fluctuates with whatever is happening outdoors, patrons return books that look as though they’ve been dipped in bathtubs, and well-meaning people donate box loads of books discovered in their own damp basements, attics or garages.

If money were no object, libraries could replace all the books that developed mold and would be able to send books that got damp (or completely sodden as is too often the case) to specialist centers to freeze-dry them to prevent mold growth.

This section covers how to respond when you find wet books, and how to respond when you do find a book with mold. Note that keeping a book with mold is not recommended. The mold can spread to other books, and can affect the health of you, your staff, and your patrons. If you do decide to keep a moldy book, be sure to consult a professional trained in dealing with moldy books. Some of the links in the Extras and Links section are a starting point in researching your options and finding local resources.

Have a Plan
Wet Returns and Damp Discoveries
What Books and Adobe Have in Common
Desiccation Chambers and Sun Treatment
Dust Jacket Surprises
A Note About Bleach


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.