Mold found in Nash Library

Gannon University has started a maintenance program to remove mold found in the Nash Library.

The program began Monday and is expected to continue for seven to 10 weeks, finishing before the start of fall semester finals.

While the library staff was re-shelving books in the stacks, they noticed visible mold on several volumes. Once reported, an investigation was conducted and discovered how wide spread the problem was; approximately 10-15 percent of the collection — estimated at 25,000 to 30,000 books — was found to have been affected.

Testing of the air in Nash was conducted and the test revealed that the air quality was higher than the air outside the library, containing extremely low levels of mold spores.

The mold feeds on materials used in a particular kind of book bindings but the spores are not present in the air of the library. Gannon plans on installing High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA)-grade filters in Nash’s ventilation system to ensure air quality.

The library is a popular place for students to study and work on group projects and with the maintenance program, students are concerned about their health.

Maureen Piccirilli, a junior early childhood and special education major, has concerns about the inconvenience of the program and the discovery of the mold in general. She said she had no idea the library had mold in it and this discovery makes her question other buildings owned by Gannon.

“I have noticed mold in other buildings,” Piccirilli said. “I am glad this problem is getting fixed, but there needs to be more investigations conducted in the other, older buildings.”

Library Director Ken Brundage said that the mold found in the library is among the most common and most benign types.

“Certainly those with allergies or a compromised immune system may want to consider carefully the choice of whether to come to library, but other students shouldn’t feel discouraged,” Brundage said.

Brundage said besides the mold itself, students may experience some inconvenience while the preservation work is being done. The study rooms or other spaces in that area will be unavailable when the containment barriers are up, but he said the majority of actual work being done will happen after hours.

According to The Chronicle of Higher Education website, the University of Missouri’s library underwent similar repairs, and the damage was estimated to cost up at $1.8 million. The cost to repair Nash library is not yet known, but Brundage said the cost will be determined at the end of construction and is covered by the university’s insurance.

“All we ask is for a little patience,” Brundage said. “The library staff will do its best to accommodate students during this time.”

BECKY HILKER

[email protected]