Books found covered by mold

By Jean Volz

Mold grew in Faraday Hall on something other than a science project last week.

Thousands of scientific journals and books in Faraday Hall’s second floor library were discovered to have mold growing on them early last Friday morning.

According to Ruth Koerner, Faraday Library technical assistant, the mold has been growing as a result of the heat and humidity of the summer months.

Koerner said the first books that were found were covered so badly with the fuzzy mold that the titles of the books could not be read.

She said she believes if the cleaning had been postponed until after Labor Day weekend, “everything would have been covered.”

Michael Gabriel, Koerner’s supervisor at Founders Memorial Library, said he has been sending over numerous students to aid in the cleaning of the books and journals because the project is so big.

The mold on both the books and the journals is being removed with sponges that are dampened with a mixture of Clorox and water.

However, extra attention is being given to the handling of the books because they are made with a less durable material than the journals.

After the mold is wiped off the books, they are set out to dry on tables in the Faraday Library. The staff is using fans and dehumidifiers to aid, and hopefully speed up, the drying process.

It is expected that the books and journals will take awhile to dry.

But Koerner said it is essential they dry fully in order to ensure that the mold will not grow again.

Although the books will not have to be replaced, Koerner said any notions of future safeguards for preventing mold growth are “being discussed.”

For now, the Faraday Library most likely will continue using the fans and dehumidifiers until the cleaning project is finished.

Koerner said James Grosklags, associate professor and assistant chairperson of NIU’s biology department, has been conducting Petri dish tests to determine the exact type of mold that has been growing on the books.

However, there is speculation that the substance is a type of penicillin.

Although the substance is not potentially dangerous, Koerner said people with allergies to molds or Clorox should take caution when entering the Faraday Library.