Temple Terrace library books destroyed by mold - FOX 13 News

Temple Terrace library books destroyed by mold

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TEMPLE TERRACE (FOX 13) -

The non-stop summer rains have deluged the Temple Terrace library in a perfect storm of problems.

They sprouted when librarians noticed something unusual on the books there.

"As they were going around shelving, they noticed some of the books had what looked like spots on it," said library director Armand Turnak.

Those spots turned out to be mold -- and lots of it, blooming on more than 3,000 of the library's books.

Summer rain, plus a broken air compressor and trouble with the air conditioning dampers added up to a $40,000 problem.

"We were pulling books as fast as we could find them. We knew it was not a good thing," Ternak said.

They knew they had to deal with the problem immediately.

"I'd heard stories about other libraries that have had to deal with that, and I said ‘we've got to solve that right away as much as possible,' " Turnak said.

"It was hot, very humid. Humidity levels outside approaching 100 percent. Rain every day. It didn't take long when a major compressor failed," said James Chambers, Director of Leisure Services

Just as the rains turned torrential, the library's air conditioning system ran into problems and couldn't keep out the humidity or the mold.

"Those malfunctions allowed too much outside air in, especially at night when the building's closed, which raised the humidity levels. That was discovered fairly quickly, but it took a while to research the problem," Chambers said.

The problem is gone now, but so are the damaged books. Many of them hadn't been checked out in years and probably won't be missed. But others were classics, and librarians say they will need to be replaced -- something that will take time and money.

"Whatever is most important to the community, that's what we'll focus on," Ternak said.

Several community groups are now stepping up to help. A group called "Friends of the Library" donated $15,000 from its reserve fund to help replace the books. The Women's League also donated another $1,000.

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