Library archives mold free and open to students

The library archives are open for use after being closed for nearly two months due to the presence of non-toxic mold. The archives were made available on Nov. 14, said Sue Whitehead, interim co-director of the library.

The situation was initially investigated by Healthy Buildings, whose experts tested the mold and determined that it was not toxic. Healthy Buildings also installed data loggers in the archive room to get hourly readings on the temperature and moisture in the room, said Beverly Cain, assistant director of facilities management.

Healthy Buildings found no significant source of the mold inside the library, according to the facilities services project summary. The data loggers showed that the temperature inside the archive room was lower than recommended, and that the humidity was higher than recommended, according to the facilities services project summary.

Healthy Buildings recommended replacing one of the filters in the air units, correcting the temperature and humidity in the room and repositioning the shelving units, according to the project summary.

Preventing future outbreaks

In an effort to prevent any future mold issues, facilities implemented the suggestions made by Healthy Buildings and replaced the thermostat and control system in the archives, according to the project summary. The new control system will send facilities an alert if the environment inside the archive room changes, according to the report.

Students unaffected

Student inability to utilize the archives has not presented a big issue, said Jonathan Brunson, senior film major and library employee.

In order to gain access to the archives, students must make an appointment with Sue Whitehead, Brunson said. The archives are not a high traffic room and are generally used by graduate students, Brunson said. In the seven weeks that the archives were closed, Brunson only knew of one student who had requested access and was turned away because of the mold issue.

Mold clean up process

HAR-BRO Restoration Services handled the mold clean up, since Healthy Buildings does not handle clean up of paper items, Whitehead said. Har-Bro completed the cleanup process on Oct. 25, said Bill Bowman, senior project manager for Har-Bro. High-efficiency particulate air vacuums were used to clean the books and the room was put in low pressure to inhibit air from escaping the room, Bowman said.

 

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