Library opening Wednesday, November 22

The library will open on Wednesday, November 22 at 9am. The Children’s Room is still under renovation. We want to thank you all for bearing with us through this process.

What happened?

The downstairs Children’s and Programming Rooms had laminate flooring that was in need of replacement. This was due to moisture that warped the floorboards and created uneven surfaces, making it a hazard, especially for our smallest patrons. This renovation was scheduled to begin on Monday, November 6, and that morning, the downstairs was closed to the public. When the furniture was put in storage and the laminate flooring began to be pulled up, our contractor informed us that there were asbestos tiles beneath the sealant layers they had just uncovered.

We immediately closed the entire library to the public and had the sealing material removed and the tiles below tested. When it was determined that the tiles contained asbestos, further testing was conducted throughout the library and preparation for emergency remediation began. No other asbestos materials have been found.

What is asbestos?

Asbestos is a mineral known for its resistance to heat, electricity, and corrosion. This led to its use in many products, including floor tiles, insulation, window glazing, siding, roof shingles, and other household and building materials. Its fibers can be inhaled or ingested, which contributes to the health risks associated with asbestos exposure. Asbestos was used extensively in the United States in the 20th century, so older buildings (like our library) are frequently found to have some form of asbestos-containing materials. The US Environmental Protection Agency began banning asbestos-containing products in 1973 and banned most uses in 1989.

Click here for more information on asbestos from the New Jersey Department of Health.

Has the public been exposed to or affected by asbestos tiles in the Children’s Room?

No. Asbestos is not dangerous until it’s exposed and becomes airborne. Asbestos-related diseases typically only affect those who’ve worked with asbestos materials long-term without adequate protection (for example, construction and factory workers). The asbestos tiles have been sealed and covered with a laminate floor for many years.They were not discovered until November 6, 2023 when the contractor first pulled up a small section of the laminate flooring. Immediately, the library was cleared of patrons. Only then did the contract do further testing and expose the asbestos tiles.

What happened after the asbestos is removed?

The affected area was cleaned up and air samples were taken from the site to determine the safety
of reopening. The Children’s Room will remain closed until the original flooring project can be completed and the furniture and books moved back into place.

Are there any precautions the public needs to take when entering the library?

The work was performed by licensed and certified contractors as mandated under the State of New Jersey and Federal asbestos standards. The library was reopened to the public only once a third-party inspector had tested the air quality and deemed it safe. No masks or other precautions are necessary.

Where can I find more details?

The following documents are available to the public:

  • Asbestos Abatement Specification
    This document, prepared by the environmental engineering consultants Detail Associates, Inc., outlines the plan to safely remove and dispose of the asbestos-containing tiles found in the library.
  • Certification of Completion
    This document certifies that the asbestos abatement was completed on November 19, 2023 and includes the results of air quality tests run on samples taken after the removal of the asbestos.