Sabrina Flores | Daily 49er
CSULB University Library found aspergillus mold on bookshelves
SPECIAL REPORT: Study area and bookshelves will be reopened on Friday after mold was found in library in October.
Library goers may want to think twice before taking a deep breath to relax while studying for finals.
The University Library’s second floor study area and its bookshelves, rooms 202 and 203, are set to reopen for students in time for finals after Aspergillus mold was discovered in the book stacks approximately two months ago.
According to Tony Malagrino, the physical planning and facilities manager, response to the situation was rapid and within 20 minutes of its discovery the entire area was blocked.
Malagrino said that the eastern corner of the book stacks was the most contaminated, thus it was soon isolated and divided into zippered compartments.
Shortly after the closure of the second floor, the mold was tested and determined to not cause any harm unless the person who breathes it has a prior condition such as allergies or a weak immune system.
While the floor remains quiet, meticulous cleaning is being done by Titan Environmental. The cleaning process, Malagrino said, is a three part fix.
“There’s the part that includes cleaning the things that have been affected by the mold, which is the most visible part,” he explained. “There is trying to understand whether we can have better control of the humidity of the outside air, and then there’s a third piece of this that’s not visible — which is the waterproofing around the northwest corner of the library.”
On Tuesday, Malagrino said in an email that the targeted date to reopen the bookshelves is this Friday.
Furthermore, Malagrino also said that all the affected book stack locations, which include the second floor stacks and third floor special collections, are expected to be cleaned by the end of the winter break.
Waterproofing in the library’s basement will be performed by Titan Environmental and modifications to air conditioning equipment will also be done to improve dehumidification.
According to Terri Carbaugh, Associate Vice President of Student Affairs, library staff was informed about the mold. The rest of the campus was not.
Malagrino said that given that the discovery of the mold was an isolated event, it wasn’t necessary to notify the whole campus.
“You don’t want to raise higher levels of concern than the conversation requires,” he said.
Carbaugh explained that email blasts are sent only when the issue affect the campus entirely, but the discovery of the mold was considered a minor issue.
The only available information about the issue for students and non-library staff is the yellow caution tape that continues blocking off the area.
“It took us a long time to understand that it wasn’t a big threat, but it was something that it had to be cleansed,” Malagrino said. “You’re always hesitant to start telling people what the situation is if you don’t have the facts yourself.”
Malagrino said that a report will be sent out during the week to notify students and staff about the mold and other issues.
In addition, a public forum to address campus issues related to infrastructure will take place on Friday in room 105 of the Hall of Science building.
Cal State Long Beach students Priscila Santos, senior sociology major, and Angel Santos, junior political science major, find it inconvenient that the second floor of the library is closed given that finals are approaching.
Priscila noticed the closure of the library’s second floor after Thanksgiving break.
“We had a week off, why didn’t they do that when no one was here,” she said.
“I don’t understand why they didn’t do it during the break…everyone has finals now.”