Storage environments Category

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HVAC Augmentation

Monday, August 4, 2008

We were lucky in the Main Library. We have three air handlers and have managed to keep two of the three working. With one out, we needed a way to keep air circulating everywhere. Plastic air tubes were placed strategically throughout the building to augment our HVAC system. Air is brought in and then circulated through our system. We needed this extra boost for the health of staff and collections. Stale air can be a real problem. We were also able to maintain a temperature and humidity that is typical for our building — 70-80 degrees and 50-60% relative humidity.

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Cooked Books

Thursday, July 17, 2008 (continued)

This time everything went off as planned and we were in the building shortly after 7PM! The first thing we noticed was how incredibly hot and dry it was – 98.2 degrees with R/H 30%! The air tubes are shut down but they have achieved good air flow with fans. Kristin and I saw no signs of mold. The book moisture content is good, running at 4.4-6.9. I am glad I decided two of us should go. It took one of us holding a flash light (no electricity) while the other took the readings. Most of the Art Library collections is on compact shelving. We kept getting squished as other staff tried to get into other aisles. Ouch!

A side note: At time of construction both Rijn Templeton, Art Librarian, and I asked for mechanical shelving as we didn’t want to be electrical and computer dependent for access. Now with no electricity, I’m very glad the mobile shelving is mechanically operated!

We got into Music, too, but we had to stand outside in the rain and travel to three different entrances before they found a place where we could enter – which took us on a circuitous route from the south side of Clapp all the way around the north side of Hancher then along the river and through the mud to an entrance on the east side. The first two entrances were blocked due to asbestos abatement. Somehow that detailed had not been relayed to the Safety Officers. We were ready to go at 7:30. Many of us were very wet by the time we got in at 8:45.

The Music Library is very hot and dry, too –  Rare bookroom: 90.5; R/H 36%; book moisture content 5.7-6.6; Stacks Temp 92.6 degrees; R/H 26%; book moisture content 4.6-5.8. The air tubes are providing good air circulation. Ruthann checked for roof leaks and was much relieved to find none, stating that ”Good news is that the ceiling was not leaking!  We’ll take small victories where we can find them.” I had forgotten about our roof leak problems. They were able to rescue a couple CPUs and the digitizing station. By the time we got into Music, Kristin and I were completely exhausted and left before the full ½ hour allocation.

I saw no evidence of mold and very little evidence of too much moisture (crinkling of paper). They’ve done a good job of keeping excess moisture out of the libraries. (Both libraries are on the second floor and were sitting over standing water on the first floor.) I’m really concerned about the high temperatures at both libraries. It’s not good for computers, books, or wood. The books most at risk with this high of temperature are the rare books in Music.  Nancy Baker will see if any adjustments can be made.

We drove home through rain and horizontal lightening. My dog, Scamper, was very happy to see me. I gave him some lap time while sipping a glass of red wine and working on a sudoku puzzle.

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False Alarm

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Cedar Rapids Gazette announced the posting of Susan Hansen’s “How to Repair Flood Damaged Books” at http://www.gazetteonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080717/NEWS/325405342
She did a great job! The name is a little misleading as the video is about cleaning and drying out books not repairing. Oh, well.

Beth and I went over to the Oakdale storage room to grab a few duplicate LPs and sampling of 78s. I noted that Kristin and Bryan have made excellent progress in sorting through all the boxes. We could not find any more LPs. We must have cleaned the duplicates already which is probably a good thing. I wasn’t sure how we could safely store them without cleaning them anyway. Before we could grab the 78s, the fire alarm went off and we had to exit the building. Although we were sure it was a false alarm, we were unnerved at the idea that what was saved from the flood waters might go up in smoke. After 20 minutes of hanging out, we were informed that there was no fire after all and we could go back into the building. Whew!

Back at my office, I met with LeAnn from Johnson County Historical Society about their books and documents that were salvaged. The flood waters didn’t actually get to their building; the underground water did. Only the bottom shelf of items in the basement was impacted. With Gary Frost’s assistance, they packed out around 70-100 books and a few documents and sent them off to be freeze-dried. Once the books and documents are returned, we’ll be working with them to assess and restore the items.

The Iowa Women’s Archives (Main Library) reported 66.2 degrees and 61% RH. We agreed to run fans during the day and monitor situation. The preservation staff is settling in. Still missing bits and pieces of stuff including our large copier. Gary Grout believes he has located shelving they can install early next week. Some of my staff is starting to show signs of being frayed around the edges.

This afternoon I went to have my knee examined. I’ve been a little worried about it. The pain increased after Friday the 13th evacuation activities and never settled down. As a dancer I rely on that knee. (Well, for other things, too, but dancing is most important!) I was relieved to find out that it’s only a little arthritis and slight weakening that can be addressed with physical therapy. ’Course this means that I now have to add physical therapy sessions to my already overscheduled life.

I returned late to my office to a message that there might be a mold outbreak at Hardin Library and to please call. I had a minor panic attack. How could I deal with this? I returned the call and discovered it was only three books and based on the description probably not mold. I sent out an email to that effect to Susan advising her to take appropriate “mold protection” precautions but that it probably wasn’t mold.

By 5:15 I desperately needed a break. Randy and I headed out to George’s for a cheese burger and beer. Much refreshed, I headed out to the Art Library for the much awaited first inspection by preservation staff.

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African American Museum of Iowa Update

Friday, July 11, 2008

I worked at home to get a little quality time and be a little more focused. Started with breakfast on the deck, caught sight of a humming bird checking out the red salvia, and then segued into working on my email on the deck. Very relaxing.

I met with the African American Museum staff late morning. They are doing all the right things for the dry collections that they are storing at the Masonic Library. They are running a fan and have popped lids off boxes to make sure all is really dry. They are very stressed about the estimates that are rolling in.  $118,000 so far in stabilizing the building – tearing out dry wall, swabbing the floors out, packing stuff into the refrigerated truck, sterilizing and drying out the building. This is before they even think about rebuilding. Document restoration will cost around $29,000 (70 cubic ft.). The 200 textiles/15 works of art on paper, and 1,000 photographs to thaw/assess/store will cost around $24,000-$34,000 – before any restoration starts. Costs for wooden objects and other artifacts not yet in. They are being very aggressive with grant applications and have begun to tap several resources. It’ll take at least 6 applications to net $75,000. We plan on doing the conservation work for the documents but need to find funds for equipment. Grants garnered by African American Museum of Iowa will fund the labor. We will work together to keep costs down, the African American staff will assess, prioritize, and rebox. We’ll do the conservation work.

When I returned home, I learned that someone ordered the large DH-Tech dehumidification units along the west side of the UI Main Library shut down. Humidity levels started to creep up immediately. Luckily staff caught the increase in humidity and our facilities manager was able to get the order reversed and have the dehumidification units turned back on. The UI Main Library building is likely days/weeks away from handling the air issues on its own because we’re short one air handler and no steam capability.