Library air better than you think


To the editor:

(re: “Air in the library needs to improve,” Jan. 12)

We appreciate Isaac Michaels sharing his thoughts about the air quality at the New York Public Library’s branches. While his letter was extremely thoughtful, it does appear he was misinformed about the library’s use of air filtration systems, and we apologize for any confusion on our end.

The New York Public Library has a wide variety of heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems and equipment that support more than 90 locations. The range, age and scope of our buildings is extensive, but in most cases, the library system uses industry-standard air filters and implements manufacturer recommendations to stop dust and other contaminants from passing into the air stream.

For historic buildings that cannot be modified to accommodate modern-day HVAC systems — or for buildings undergoing improvement projects — the library system uses state-of-the-art portable air filters, which are strategically placed for optimal airflow and filtration. 

The library system conducts routine service and maintenance of equipment — such as replacing filters — and also performs regular HVAC equipment assessments at all library system sites open to the public to ensure optimal airflow, filtration and compliance with regulations.

The health and safety of our patrons and staff are a top priority at the New York Public Library.

The pandemic has brought a strong focus on air quality, and we will continue to monitor changing public health guidance and update our protocols accordingly to benefit all visitors to our branches.

Stephen Cherepany

The author is the environmental health and safety office director for the New York Public Library system

Stephen Cherepany, new york city library, air