Press Room

Rare Books Department Reopens

by awilliams

The Rare Books Department at the Boston Public Library at the Central Library in Copley Square has reopened after closing for 10 weeks (September 17-November 30) due to the discovery of mold in scattered locations in the department. This summer’s extended periods of high heat and humidity were likely a leading factor in activation of the mold spores. As a proactive measure to safeguard the approximately 500,000 books and 1,000,000 manuscripts in the collection and prevent the spread of the mold, BPL worked with Polygon, experts in temporary climate solutions and document recovery services, to clean the collection, which included individually cleaning every book in the department. Additionally, throughout the process, the air quality in the Rare Books Department was monitored and no health or safety risks were identified.

The mold is now eradicated as a result of this cleaning process. BPL continues to monitor the temperature and humidity in the Rare Books Department on an ongoing basis and will continue to implement interventions such as dehumidifiers as conditions require. BPL is working with a team of experts to develop long-term solutions to address future climate control issues in the department.

To make an appointment to view materials from the Boston Public Library collections, please email rare_books@bpl.org or call 617.859.2225.