Skip to content
Skip to main content

Conservation & Collections Care News

False Alarm

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Cedar Rapids Gazette announced the posting of Susan Hansen’s “How to Repair Flood Damaged Books” at
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.