National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library Category

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45s Are Fun!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

After working on the LPs and 78s, the 45s are a breeze. First, there are only three boxes–about 300 to clean. Second, they are small and cute and easy to handle. They are not brittle, like the 78s. They have few labels running, unlike all the Supraphon from the LPs. The one problem, however, is that they are the last boxes we got to, and are smelly and moldy, and many of the plastic sleeves have adhered to the covers. This happened to the LPs as well, but it seems like these dried a bit and so stuck more to  each other.

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Getting Grosser

Thursday, August 14, 2008

These are some of the last boxes of records we had to go through. They had dried out which made it much harder to separate them. Many of the records had also warped since there was so much space in the boxes they expanded. The boxes we had been working on prior to these had stayed wet and were packed into their boxes snugly so there was no room for warping. Many of the records pictured below were unsalvageable. Luckily many of them were duplicates.

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Mold on 78s

Friday, August 6, 2008

When we washed all of the records, we didn’t only have to worry about the flood goo but also the mold that thrives in damp, warm conditions. The mold can be very harmful if it is inhaled. Because of this, we have to wear respirators and latex gloves at all times to protect ourselves from getting sick.

This is an example of what a moldy record can look like.

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Cleaning 78s

Thursday, July 31

Cleaning the 78′s from the Czech Slovak record collection has been our longest project so far. Just the cursory cleaning we did out at the Oakdale paper facility took two months. We used two water baths, one with photo flo, a mild soap; and one with clean water to rinse. We then hung them up to dry using the paper drying rack out at Oakdale. We cleaned 3,300 78s altogether.

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The Challenge of Unboxing 78s

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

We were amazed to discover that 78s expand when wet. Getting them out of their archival box was no small task. The photos explain the process.

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David Muhlena Visits

Monday, July 28, 2008

 One of the benefits of having a local institution like the University of Iowa help with flood recovery is the access we have to the curators of the museums. If these museums had to send their collections to one of the regional centers they would be much less involved in the process. We have had the luxury of being able to meet directly with the curators of the African American Museum of Iowa, the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library, and the Johnson County Historical Society throughout our recovery efforts.

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Czech LPs Debut

Thursday, July 24, 2008 

The highlight of the day was listening to three Czech LPs that we had salvaged. The covers are wrinkled, tattered, stained, and still have a distinct odor about them. The records have a slight “scent” to them, too, probably from the paper label. CR Gazette Reporter, Alicia Ebaugh , made a special trip down to listen to the LPs. We only listened to the first cut on each of the three LPs — a polka, a Christmas Carol, and a folk song. They sounded great! One was “scratchy.” I don’t know if that was from the flood, original recording, or hard use.

I finalized a contract with the African American Museum for the CDs/DVDS and museum objects — just basic cleaning — and got it off to them. It took a lot longer to prepare than I had anticipated so I was much delayed. They wanted the contract ASAP as FEMA told them late last week that they might be able to get some reimbursement — all they needed was a contract. This week they told them that the work wouldn’t qualify, before they even got a copy of the contract. It’s been a very frustrating week for them.

I treated my staff to a lunch of home made sloppy joes. It’s been a very trying time for everyone. Although we’re moved back into the basement, we’re still missing some furniture and shelving. Some of us are helping with flood recovery activities. The rest of the library staff is anxious to get back to routine work and want/need us to be back at our desks doing our regular work and we’re not there.

I ended my day as guest lecturer for Jacqueline Snyder’s Collection Management class. We spent some time discussing the role collection managers play in disaster response.

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How to Restore LPs, DVDs, CDs Video Debuts

Wednesday, July 23, 2008 

The Gazette was really fast in getting this video posted. It looks pretty good. Bill Voss and Elizabeth Stone did a great job demonstrating how to clean the discs. http://www.gazetteonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080723/NEWS/695592191/1002/NEWS

We continue to make progress on flood recovery efforts. Bryan Stusse has about 1/2 of the Czech LPs inventory completed. Kristin has most of the monitoring sites for book moisture content established and logged in first reading. We’ll take the readings once a week (unless we see a problem) until the Main Library HVAC system is 100% funtional. We have the book cases ordered for staff in the basement. Caitlin and Beth did a box and a half of 78s. They found interesting mold on some of the 78s. They can clean the 78s in half the time as the LPs which is good since there are twice as many. They are trying to figure out how to hang more.

I spent most of the day trying to figure out contract language, pricing, and work flow. How do we keep work flowing consistently enough so I can keep Caitlin on staff and actually pay Beth? The books and documents might not come back from the freeze drying process for several months. We’ll need to wait until David determines which LPs he can replace and which ones we need to restore before we can do any additional work on the LPs. It’s a challenge.

When I got home, I heard a beeping sound coming from my closet. Closer investigation determined the sound was coming from my dance shoe bag. For some unknown reason, I stuck my cell phone in my shoe bag last night! The message on my cell phone was an invitation to join the Governor’s Rebuild Iowa Taskforce on Record Retention. First meeting next Wednesday.

I finished my day with a great dance lesson. We worked on fox trot and tango.

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Hanging in There

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Caitlin has gone home to visit Michigan. Which means Bill has come to help me out. Although he makes fun of the lunches I bring, and doesn’t laugh at my jokes, it is good to have two people doing this. The day goes faster and more smoothly. Plus, Bill does appreciate the silly names of the bands–and we wonder what “adult only polka” might be, as there are several in the last box.  Caitlin misses washing the last box of LPs, but we have plenty of 78 boxes ahead of us.

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Containing Smells

Monday, July 21, 2008

We think we’ve finally figured out how to contain the smells while cleaning the Czech/Slovak records. The solution turned out to be rather simple. We set the thermostat to continuous air and added a charcoal filter to the airconditioner. Of course, you can still get a “whiff” as you enter the cleaning room but you don’t get knocked out from the smell. A huge improvement!