Images and text by Garry Harrison,
Head, Circulating Collections Conservation,
Indiana University Libraries

Web design by Jake Nadal,
former Head, Preservation Department,
Indiana University Libraries



One of the most difficult problems facing those responsible for the maintenance of paper materials collections is mold. Mold infestation is an example of a situation in which an ounce of prevention is worth many pounds of cure. Maintaining control of temperature and humidity in collection spaces is the most important factor concerning prevention. These same preventive measures go full circle to represent the final step of any successful treatment; it is essential that any item treated for mold contamination then be housed in an environment which is not conducive to the recurrence of mold growth. Without this final step, even the most thorough and effective disinfection of materials is wasted.

Most university library collections are now housed in climate-controlled spaces. Nonetheless, mold can be a problem even when proper precautions are taken, such as when a pipe or a roof leaks and isn't noticed for some time or when a moldy book is returned by a patron. In the event of infestation, a major part of the problem can be finding treatments which are both effective and not harmful to either the materials or to humans. Sometimes both the collections and the spaces that house them must be treated. As with most treatment decisions, each case is a judgment call. Fortunately there is some excellent information available on the subjects of prevention and treatment. Consequently, there is no need to present a comprehensive manual here. We will instead look at a few examples that warranted different decisions.

Mold, decision to re-house

Mold, decision to restore (example 1)

Mold, decision to restore (example 2)

Mold, decision to replace

Mold, the importance of thorough inspection

Using the Manual

To facilitate convenient navigation and use, the procedural parts of this manual are presented in slide show form. As you can see above, clicking on the image shown on each treatment's front page begins the slide show.

Here are the navigational options within each slide. To view this information in illustrated form see the map image below.

Each slide offers the following capabilities:

* Thumbnail images of the entire treatment procedure are in a vertical column to the left. The progression is downward, beginning at the top and ending at the bottom. By clicking on any of these images, you can go to that point in the procedure.

* Clicking on any page's main image opens a larger version of the image in a separate window.

* Button links are provided to return to this page, to go to the next and previous slides in the series, and to go to the complete table of contents for the entire manual.

* The text is dotted with links to tools, materials, glossary terms, and other treatments. Linked text is gray in color and turns red when the pointer encounters it.

Map Image


Table of