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Cause of library odor under investigation

Ballston's Libray smell has left and returned for years, more tests underway

Outside the library welcomes visitors, except one.

Outside the library welcomes visitors, except one.

The Burnt Hills Community Library is a modern brick and glass structure with pleasing geometry. But there is a rather unappealing visitor among the stacks inside that arrives with no library card.

Library employees and patrons have periodically put complaints to library Director Karen DeAngelo of an odor described as “musty” in a large open area on the first floor that’s designated as a reading room. Library Board of Trustees member Jean Botta reported it to the Ballston Town Board at a recent meeting.

Mustiness among books is no surprise, but some describe the odor as a “different” kind of musty.

“We’ve had days when we’ve noticed it in the morning and not in the afternoon, and days when we’ve noticed it in the afternoon and not in the morning. There’s no rhyme of reason to it. In 2009, it was a totally different time of year (August),” DeAngelo said.

The circular reading room has high ceilings and is outfitted with upholstered chairs. Officials say there appears to be no cause of the odor, despite air quality tests being conducted two years ago and again inr ecent weeks. All test results done to date have come back within normal range.

“He (the inspector) tests both indoors and outdoors. It looks like a plastic Tupperware container,” said DeAngelo of the device that was left for air tests in the reading room.

The inspector, who conducted the air tests in recent weeks when temperatures outside hovered in the high 40s, was Kevin Michaels of Hudson Valley Properties, which is headquartered in Saugerties.

“We tested the area using an air cartridge that sucks in 15 liters of air for five minutes. The air in the area must be moving at the timeof the test, and it was when we conducted them,” said Michaels.

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