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Ole Miss library under repair

University of Mississippi library staff is working around the clock to rid the Archives and Special Collections section of mold that was discovered this June.

The mold is not dangerous to people in the library or harmful to any of the collected items, but the project of cleaning the mold should be complete soon.

Stan Whitehorn, head of access services and operations manager said the project is due to be complete in a matter of weeks.

Whitehorn said library staff noticed the mold quickly and realized the heating and air system had its first malfunction and stopped functioning at full capacity. The humidity in the room rose rapidly and created the ideal environment for the mold to grow.

When the section was closed in June, immediately after the discovery of the mold, precautions were taken to begin cleaning up documents that were as old as the 1600s.

The room was closed off to the public and special vacuum systems were brought in to gently pull the mold spores off of the items.

Whitehorn said staff and the student workers take turns cleaning the books. He said the majority of the maintenance has already been complete.

Because of the expansions the library has undergone over the years, the air conditioning and heating aspect of the building has always had to adapt.

“Up until June the system had performed perfectly,” said Whitehorn.

The archive contains rare books and papers written on and written by famous Mississippians as well as other non-paper items.

“We are lucky that we had more limited damage,” Dean of Libraries and Professor Julia Rholes said. “It definitely could have been worse.”