COLLEGE PARK, Md. (CBSDC) — Students at the University of Maryland, College Park were greeted with a nasty surprise when they visited their on-campus library on the first day of classes — moldy books.

About 10 percent of the 200,000 library books on the fifth floor of McKeldin Library were covered with mold, prompting staff to shut down the entire floor.

That area of the building is expected to remain closed until the moldy mess is cleaned up.

Library spokesman Eric Bartheld tells WNEW reporter Karen Adams that students will still be able to check out the moldy books. However, if a student needs one of the books, they can request it through the library and a staff member will locate it, clean off the mold and deliver the book to the student.

Bartheld says the mold has the potential to damage the binding and pages of the books, but people who are exposed to it are at no risk for major health problems.

The mold is non-toxic and he says, “generally harmless to people although we urge anyone with sensitivities and allergies to stay away.”

Of course making the library mold-free is no easy task. Cleanup could take anywhere from a couple weeks to a few months. And it’s not going to be cheap, either. Making sure the library is completely mold free is estimated to cost around $100,000.

WNEW’s Karen Adams contributed to this report. Follow her and WNEW on Twitter.


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