May 29, 2022

Mold Damages About 600,000 Books at U. of Missouri Libraries Off-Campus Storage Facility

UPDATE Feb. 7 2014 FAQ Regarding Mold at Offsite Storage (via MU Libraries)

From the Columbia Daily Tribune:

University of Missouri Libraries officials face tough choices as they consider what to do with 600,000 mold-covered books at an off-campus storage facility.

The volumes are stored at Subtera, an underground storage facility off Stadium Boulevard in north Columbia. Jim Cogswell, director of MU Libraries, said library staff discovered the mold problem in October.


Cogswell said he can’t say for sure how many books will be salvaged, but it likely will be fewer than half. The reason is that removing the mold is estimated to cost $3 a volume — for a total estimated cost of $1.8 million for all 600,000 volumes.

“We don’t have that,” Cogswell said.

He said the goal is to save books that were published before 1870. Cogswell said he is unsure how many books that includes.

“We don’t have that kind of money” to save all the books, Cogswell said. “We have a self-insurance fund, but there is around three-quarters of a million dollars in there.”

Read the Complete Article

See Also: From October 2013: “U2/Annex Items are Unavailable for Loan” (U. of Missouri Libraries)
This note says that the storage facility holds about 600,000 items.

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.