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close this book Prevention and treatment of mold in library collections with an emphasis on tropical climates: A RAMP study
close this folder 4. Prevention
close this folder 4.2 Interior modifications in existing facilities
View the document 4.2.1 Location of stack and storage areas
View the document 4.2.2 Stack arrangement
View the document 4.2.3 Localized environmental modification
View the document 4.2.4 Creating microclimates in cabinets and cases

4.2.1 Location of stack and storage areas

Because of the high water table common in tropical climates, buildings are usually constructed without the basements and subbasements common in temperate climates. In the event that the building does have one or more levels below ground, every effort should be made to avoid using these areas for either stacks or storage of unused collections. Sub-surface areas are difficult if not impossible to adequately seal, and moisture from the ground will wick through the walls. Even if walls are coated with moisture barrier sealants there is a tendency for moisture and salts to build up below the surface of the coating until the surface of the wall and the coating begin to flake, (a condition known as spelling) exposing the interior of the wall and allowing the moisture to come through into the interior of the building. Adequate ventilation is also difficult to maintain. These factors result in warm, damp, still air and virtually assure the growth of mold.

Even if underground areas are not used for storage, both walls and floors should be sealed as thoroughly as possible to prevent the elevation of relative humidity throughout the building. Frequent inspections should be made to monitor conditions in these areas, and staff should be aware of potential trouble spots in the building.

Sealed interior rooms should also be avoided, unless they can be environmentally controlled by mechanical systems to control both temperature and relative humidity. Such areas should be monitored regularly. In buildings designed with such areas, ventilation may be improved by replacing solid interior walls with a half wall of louvred windows which can provide cross ventilation either naturally or with the use of fans.