The growth of mold at the new Paradis Library has forced the closure of the branch’s children’s activity room and head librarian Mary desBordes said her hands are currently tied when it comes to fixing the issue.
desBordes said that late last year staffers discovered that excess moisture was entering the library and causing mold to grow. desBordes said she immediately contacted the contractor who built the library and had a number of tests performed that examined both air quality levels and the inside of the library’s walls.
"Other than in the children’s activity room, which we have shut off for this period, there was nothing toxic in the rest of the library," she said.
The library installed air scrubbers and dehumidifiers this year, which desBordes said greatly lowered mold levels.
"We got the air quality tested last week, and while we haven’t been advised on what the current readings mean, they are lower than they have been before," desBordes said. "The scrubbers and dehumidifiers are keeping the problem in check. There are always mold spores in the air in Louisiana, but we are trying to bring them down to acceptable levels."
desBordes would not go into details on what exactly she believes is causing excess moisture to enter the building. However, she thinks it would be "fairly simple" to correct.
"Because the building is under warranty, they (contractor and architect) are liable for correcting the problem," she said. "There are just so many factors involved in this situation. I would really like to take care of it, but the parish attorney has told me not to move a finger.
"When we see a problem, we want to fix it. Sometimes we are in a position where we can’t do what we want to do."
desBordes is not sure how long it will take before the issue is resolved.
"The contractor and architect are planning on doing something about it, but the whole process works slowly when you have so many entities involved," she said. "Right now, we are doing everything we can to make the building safe for the public and our staff."
desBordes said that the children’s activity room had a higher level of mold spores because it is located in an enclosed corner of the building that is surrounded by glass.
"It is located in a prime place for moisture to accumulate," she said.
The problem takes on added significance because the West Regional Library in Luling will close in June for renovations. The renovations are expected to last about seven months and the Paradis branch is the closest alternative for patrons during that time period.
"We’ve told the contractor and the architect that we have to have the Paradis problem corrected by June," desBordes said. "We have made that clear to them and we will take whatever actions necessary to make that happen."