Boston, MA, December 28th, 2015
Libraries provide the public with many opportunities and a number of larger libraries also act as a place to safeguard rare books and manuscripts. Housing thousands or more books made of paper, libraries must be especially vigilant of indoor air quality issues to protect their vast collection of printed materials.
One component of indoor air quality that is particularly crucial is the level of humidity allowed in the library. Humidity levels can increase if there has been water damage or if the library’s HVAC system has not been properly programed or is not working correctly.
Just this month, there have been at least two reports of libraries battling mold issues due to moisture problems. North Carolina’s Elkin Tribune recently reported about thousands of books being lost to mold at the Jonesville Public Library after heavy rains caused water damage to the building. Also this month, the Boston Globe published an article about efforts to eradicate mold at the Boston Public Library’s Rare Book Department. According to the article, it took a crew of 20 people over 10 weeks to remove mold contamination after mold was first discovered where a half million books and one million manuscripts were stored. The old library building was undergoing renovations that are believed to have resulted in the HVAC system failing to control humidity levels.
“Many types of mold will quickly begin to grow on anything made out of paper as soon as moisture is introduced, so it’s critical to keep the indoor environment dry in libraries,” said Jason Dobranic, Ph.D., Vice President of Microbiology and Life Sciences at EMSL Analytical, Inc. “This mold can not only destroy books, but it could also become a health concern for people who work in or visit the library. Mold is a known allergen, respiratory irritant and can trigger an asthma attack in some people. Some types of mold can even cause infections in people with a weakened or suppressed immune system.”
Helping libraries to identify water damage and humidity issues is EMSL Analytical, Inc. EMSL offers moisture meters as well as humidity sensors and data logging instrumentation. They also provide mold testing services along with air and surface sampling supplies.
To learn more about air and moisture monitoring instrumentation or testing for mold, please visit www.EMSL.com
About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider of environmental, indoor air quality and materials testing services and products to professionals and the general public. The company has an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies.