February 17, 2018

Mercury Found at Muncie, IN, Library; Facility Closed

By LJ Staff

Mercury discovered on keyboards of several publicly used computers forced the closure of the Kennedy branch of the Muncie Public Library, IN, for the second time in as many weeks, according to the Star-Press. The mercury apparently came from a broken fluorescent light bulb. The small particles of mercury found during the initial discovery were removed and the library reopened, but a second discovery forced the Environmental Protection Agency to hire contractors to remove every single item inside the library from books on down to the carpeting for further testing. As a result of the $70,000 cleanup, the library will remain closed for several weeks. So far none of the collection has been destroyed, but the carpeting is now considered toxic waste and will be completely replaced. Library Director Virginia Niles said that the cause of the second contamination was most likely the library’s vacuum, used to clean up after the first closure: “The reopening depends greatly on the availability of the carpet and its installation. We will re-shelve the materials as soon as the building is ready. We may ask for volunteers from the community to form “book brigades” to get the library open again as quickly as possible.”