Latin American Library reopens after asbestos removal project

Robert Marchini, Staff Reporter

The fourth floor of Tulane’s Howard-Tilton Memorial Library reopened Nov. 25 after being closed to the public since Nov. 10 for asbestos removal.

The work involved removing ceiling materials on the fourth floor in the elevator lobby area as part of installing a new sprinkler system. These materials contained a small amount of asbestos. The floor was closed because the contractor had to use containment equipment that which blocked emergency exit routes, according to a post on the library’s construction blog.

Materials stored on the fourth floor remained accessible to library patrons during this period. 

While the closure was attributed to the blockage of emergency exits, the contractor noted that they did not expect asbestos to be released outside the contained area. Several precautions were taken, including leaving the area sealed and continuing to test for asbestos for several days after all asbestos was removed. Amanda Verdi, a student employee of the library and associate news editor at The Hullabaloo, explained how these materials were made available.

“I’d take the elevator to the third floor, then walk up the alternative stairs, go through the Latin American library, and go from there into the Music and Media Center,” Verdi said. “I was somewhat concerned because I would be on the same floor, but I was never in the same area as the asbestos.”

Similar work on the first floor elevator lobby is planned for winter break, with work on the second and third floor elevator lobbies planned for the spring semester.