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Subject: Odor

Odor

From: Jane Pudsey <jane.pudsey>
Date: Monday, April 10, 2006
Marilena Giannakeri <mgiannak [at] uth__gr> writes

>Does anyone have a solution to the problem of "smelly" libraries?

Until 18 months ago, the majority of Coventry's archives were kept
in a largish basement store with 2 alcoves. Heating was by
underfloor pads, and kept to about 15 centigrade in winter (although
it did rise in summer). When necessary (not that often), a mid-size
dehumidifier was added to keep RH below 55%.

The air was kept 'sweet' by a single 14 inch (36cm) desk fan on a
table at one end, on a time switch set to come on during working
hours only (I doubt these fans are designed to work constantly).
Before installing the time switch, I could always tell the instant I
stuck my nose round the door that I'd had a spell of forgetting to
turn the fan on. By the end of the first day of air circulation, the
smell of old books would have dispersed again, even in the alcoves
away from the fan.

I guess it was never likely to get as bad as you describe, and you
may need to do something to clean the air initially (sorry, no
experience in that department), however I would recommend this as a
cheap and easy method of maintaining air quality. If you can lay
your hands on several fans, it may even be worth trying it for a few
days to see if it starts to clear the air. I would raise a caveat
that you should check first whether you have a mould problem and
deal with this first, before taking action which may make spores air
borne--both for the health of your collections and colleagues.

Jane Pudsey
Senior Conservator
The Herbert
Coventry
UK


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                  Conservation DistList Instance 19:51
                  Distributed: Friday, April 21, 2006
                       Message Id: cdl-19-51-006
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Received on Monday, 10 April, 2006

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