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Norman Central Public Library closed due to mold damage

 Officials for the City of Norman closed the facility on Nov. 16 following positive mold tests from a mold remediation service. The library could reopen in 5 months, pending remediation progress.
Britny Cordera
/
StateImpact Oklahoma
Officials for the City of Norman closed the facility on Nov. 16 following positive mold tests from a mold remediation service. The library could reopen in 5 months, pending remediation progress.

Officials for the City of Norman closed the Central Public Library facility on Nov. 16 following positive mold tests from a mold remediation service.

The CEO of the service said his company found two types of mold, one that is responsible for black mold and one that causes allergies.

According to officials, mold wasn’t a problem at Central Library until now. However, the roof of the building has been repaired several times.

Jason Olsen, the director of parks and recreation for the city of Norman, said contractors have been chasing leaks in the roof since the library was built in 2019.

“We couldn't come to a good understanding with our contractor that built that. So we immediately went ahead and tried to resolve the problem ourselves,” Olsen said.

Norman Central Library staffed 64 employees and has nearly 10,000 library patrons a month according to Lisa Wells, the director of Pioneer Library System.

Although the city isn’t certain if construction errors were made when the library was built, Olsen said they want to permanently fix the issue.

“That's the reason we're getting that building envelope consultant involved really early in this process,” he said. “Our first step and our main step is to figure out where the water's coming from and how to fix that issue.”

Mold was found on the first floor in the common and newspaper areas, as well as in the children’s area. Other areas like offices and exit doors on the second and third floors also have mold. Wells said the library system doesn’t suspect previously checked out items are contaminated.

The library could reopen in five months, pending remediation progress.


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Britny Cordera has been StateImpact Oklahoma's environment and science reporter since July 2023.
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