Asbestos Information



  1. Is the library safe for me and my family?

    We have been assured that the library is safe. We have tested the air throughout the library and found no sign of asbestos in the air which patrons and staff breathe.  Asbestos is dangerous when it is breathed in over a long period of time. If asbestos were present in the air, we would close until we were completely safe. The ceiling is currently in stable condition. The newer portion of the library, where the meeting rooms are and where childrens programs take place, has never had asbestos.

  2. Why does the library have asbestos?

    Asbestos was commonly used until it was banned in 1977. The library was built in 1973 – 1974 when asbestos was used as a spray on texture, among many other uses. We do not know whether it was used in the Library because asbestos is useful in dampening sound or because the designers liked how the texture looked.

  3. Where is the asbestos and how much is there?

    The textured surface of the ceilings of both floors of the original library contains asbestos. We estimate that this is roughly 30,000 ft.² of material.  The addition and bridge do not have this material. 

  4. What do we intend to do about it?

    Because of the nature of our situation, we will eventually have to remove it. The only question is when this will take place. We will do a small trial removal in the fall of 2017 to determine how hard it will be to remove and to develop an estimate of how much it will cost.

  5. Do you have to remove it?

    If we could guarantee that we would never have to disturb the ceiling, we could leave it alone indefinitely. However, we do not believe that is possible. We will eventually have to remove it.

  6. How is it removed?

    It is very difficult to remove this material. The area undergoing removal will have to be sealed off from the rest of the library. The air pressure is lowered in that area in order to prevent material from escaping. The air outside the area is monitored to make sure that no asbestos is escaping. There is an airlock through which the removal crew goes in and out. All contents of the area (shelving, equipment, furniture, books, etc.) are removed from the space. Then the light fixtures in the ceiling are removed. The ceiling is then wet-down and then the material is scraped off by hand. After this, a wire brush is used on the concrete surface until there is no sign of asbestos remaining. It is a hard, slow, expensive process and one that is extremely disruptive of library services.

  7. How expensive?

    We have been told to expect the removal to cost between $7 and $10 a square foot. We have over 30,000 ft.². Our best guess is around $250,000, but it could be higher.

  8.  When are you removing it?

    We are doing several small-scale projects now, because of the requirements of a current grant. However because of how disruptive the removal process is, the bulk of the removal will take place during the large-scale renovation project sometime in the next 2 years.

  9.  Will the Library close during the removal?

    We have been told the library will be completely safe during the removal process.  We plan on being open during the Fall of 2017.  If the contractors tell us at any time that we will need to close, we will do so.  During the large-scale project, we will probably be closed at times, but it is too early to think about that now. 

To view Air Quality Test results click here.