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Indoor Air Quality Assessment at the Library of the National Observatory of Athens, Greece

Category: Indoor Air

Volume: 20 | Issue: 4 | Pages: 889-903
DOI: 10.4209/aaqr.2019.07.0360
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To cite this article:
Drougka, F., Liakakou, E., Sakka, A., Mitsos, D., Zacharias, N., Mihalopoulos, N. and Gerasopoulos, E. (2020). Indoor Air Quality Assessment at the Library of the National Observatory of Athens, Greece. Aerosol Air Qual. Res. 20: 889-903. doi: 10.4209/aaqr.2019.07.0360.

Fani Drougka1, Eleni Liakakou 2, Arezina Sakka1, Dimitriοs Mitsos1, Nikolaos Zacharias1, Nikolaos Mihalopoulos2,3, Evangelos Gerasopoulos2

  • 1 Department of History, Archaeology & Cultural Resources Management, University of the Peloponnese, 24100 Kalamata, Greece
  • 2 Institute for Environmental Research and Sustainable Development, National Observatory of Athens, 15236 Athens, Greece
  • 3 Environmental Chemical Processes Laboratory, Department of Chemistry, University of Crete, 71003 Crete, Greece


  • The library indoor air quality is driven by the ambient conditions.
  • Temperature above the limits was observed, contributing to the decay of the books.
  • The daily gradients of microclimatic conditions in the library exceed the limits.
  • Random air condition operation isn’t proposed due to sharp temperature fluctuations.
  • Indoor air pollutants follow the ambient variability.


Controlling environmental factors, such as microclimatic conditions (temperature and relative humidity) and the levels of indoor pollutants within a museum, crucially affects the hosted exhibits and artworks. To evaluate the air quality of the library hosted by the Museum of Geoastrophysics of the National Observatory of Athens, a monitoring campaign was performed during the summer-time period (August 2016). The findings were compared against scientifically accepted standards and recommended conditions for repositories and paperwork exhibition areas. The temperature and the relative humidity proved to be the most crucial threat to the book collection, with the measured levels of temperature during the campaign being out of the recommended limit values. Both parameters presented also diurnal fluctuations which are not recommended. Synergistically, these inappropriate and uncontrolled conditions contribute to book deterioration on a long-term basis, leading to color and mechanical damage of the fibers and mold development. Furthermore, the library exhibited insufficient protection against pollutants. Despite the moderate infiltration, pollutants such as SO2, NO2 and O3 occurred in higher levels than the acceptable ones, which can also lead to embrittlement and discoloration of the paper and weakening or powdered surface to the leather covers of the books.


Microclimatic conditions Air pollution Indoor air quality Books Organic materials

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