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One New Thing
Monday, July 05, 2004
One New Thing: How to catch mould or mildew on books.

I had the early stages of mould on a book shown to me today, and I never would have picked that’s what it was, it was so faint – I wish I could show you what I mean, but I can’t find anything like it online to link to! It looked like a mild white discolouring of the fabric-bound book cover, not the black spots I would have been looking for if I was hunting mould.

What I have learnt about book mould and mildew is firstly and most importantly how to prevent it, as outlined by Mould, Mildew and Library Books from the NLA. In my quest to find photos and also find more about what kinds of mould grow on books I found Guidelines for the prevention and treatment of mould-damaged archival and library material. This discusses how airborne spores will settle in books under the right conditions, and goes into the sorts of treatments can be employed to repair damaged material. It’s amazing to realise that something as innocuous as a potted plant in a book storage area could cause major damage to a collection.

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