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Cleanup of Missouri’s 600,000 Moldy Books Begins

Associated Press
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Photo: MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images

Photo: MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images

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COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) - The University of Missouri has rented a former design showroom to house up to 600,000 moldy books as they are cleaned and restored.

The university began leasing a former Rust & Martin design showroom on Thursday, at a cost of $16,965 a month. The books will be stored there but cleaned by Belfor, a global disaster recovery and restoration company, at a location in Texas, The Columbia Daily Tribune reported.

University of Missouri Libraries staff discovered the mold problem in October at Subtera, an underground storage site in north Columbia. Health officials said the mold was not a type that endangered public health.

MU Libraries spokeswoman Shannon Cary said the building is significantly more expensive than the underground space the university leased at Subtera but it has improved climate control. The university has to move out of its Subtera space by June 1.

The warehouse, which is owned by D&D Investments, was renovated to hold the books. Most of the work included taking down walls and creating spaces to separate the clean and contaminated books, said Dave Drane, who owns the building.

The remediation process is expected to last until at least June 2015 and cost $2 per book.

Library administrators have applied for grants to help fund the cleanup. A fundraising effort has raised $3,230 of the $50,000 goal.

(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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