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Identifying Damaged Materials to Send to Preservation

This guide should assist staff and student assistants in identifying circulating and other material that needs repair or rebinding.


Mold can form in 48 hours if a book is wet or moist. Active mold is fuzzy, damp, slimy, and smears. Inactive mold is dry and powdery. Mold can begin to form if a water or liquid is spilled onto a book and the book remains wet, or the book is stored in conditions that promote mold growth.

It can sometimes be difficult to distinguish mold from dust and dirt. Mold can be almost any color, and often has a musty odor, whether active or dormant -- such as the smell common to damp basements. The pictures on this page show some examples of mold from materials sent to the Preservation Unit.

Any book with evidence of mold should be put in a resealable plastic bag and brought to the attention of library staff. Contact Circulation (935-5420) or Preservation (935-4287, 935-4612) if you suspect a library book has mold. If it cannot be sent immediately to Preservation, consider freezing it until it can be sent.