Monitoring Library Collections Remotely

Example of an environmental data report for Emory Libraries, showing temperature and humidity readings over two weeks.

The staff of the Emory Libraries Conservation Lab is working remotely right now, but we still need to keep track of the environmental conditions in our important library collections spaces. During COVID-19 social distancing and remote work conditions, we no longer have direct access to our onsite data loggers, so we had to find creative solutions for monitoring the library environments. This is especially important while no one is in these spaces to check for fluctuations or changes in the temperature and humidity.

Working with our Library Facilities Office and the Campus Services-Energy and Utilities Unit, we can now request environmental data from the building management systems. To ensure that library conditions are consistently within acceptable ranges, the building systems measure temperature and relative humidity in the return ducts of the HVAC units. Monitoring these controls prevents such problems as mold growth and discourages insects or other pests from invading our collections.   

The environmental data is used to confirm that all of our collection spaces are measuring within safe parameters. We create reports with this information and share it with all Emory Libraries stakeholders (administrators, librarians, archivists, and curators) to keep them informed. Without physical access, this arrangement allows us to protect and preserve our important collections from a distance.

Kirsten Wehner, Assistant Conservator-Emory Libraries