Stuck Pages

Thursday, June 18, 2009

This week when Susan Hansen and I reviewed the work for the Art Library, she pointed out a book that had a block of pages stuck together. It felt like a brick. We were convinced that the book was beyond repair. However, before declaring the book a loss, we forwarded the book to conservator Gary Frost. To our complete and total amazement, he was able to salvage the book.

Gary took the book apart and pulled the section with the stuck pages. Then he trimmed the pages until he found the spot where the pages were no longer sticking together. The outer edges had sealed together tightly, keeping water from getting into the main part of the page. No text or photographic image was lost; only the margin. He chose to leave the rest of the pages at their regular length rather than risk cutting into text just to keep the book looking “good.”

If you look carefully at the book in the press, you’ll see that the stitching of the different sections no longer line up. All text is jogged to the top, this will keep the exposed edges clean, reducing chances of dust and dirt build up. This is important as bugs and mold thrive on dirt. We don’t want this book to suffer any more than it already has!

We try to salvage and reuse the book covers whenever possible. This cover was too far gone, so Gary made a new one. The book is now back on the shelf ready for use.

Art Folio Portfolio

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

We are making steady progress on the books damaged in the Art Library sprinkler incident. We have been very fortunate in that most books show no to minimal damage. If you look closely at the first couple photos, you can see that there is water staining along the edges. This is fairly typical of the type of damage the books received. The staining can not be removed and will remain as a reminder of sprinkler incident.

This particular book has a soft cover and needs extra protection before going back on the shelf. Linda Lundy made a portfolio box or a four flap enclosure attached to book covers. This is entirely produced in house, using our equipment and purchased archival materials. The box will give the book added protection for handling, shelving, and other hazards.

Art Books To Campus Freezer

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Once the art books were safely stashed in the freezer truck, we began looking for on campus freezers. We found one in Macbride Hall — a nice sized walk in freezer. We were able to get all but 50 boxes into the freezer.

As Rijn and I were brainstorming how to squeeze the final 50 boxes into the freezer, Cindy Opitz stopped by and asked us if we needed any more freezer space. Her department, right around the corner, has a walk in freezer, too! Problem solved. The final group will go to her freezer on Thursday.

All our books will be in the same building, just a couple blocks away from the Main Library. It will be easy to pick up a few boxes every couple weeks to put new books into the freeze dryer as we pull dry ones out.

It was refreshing to see such a simple freezer monitoring device after the day and half training on the book freeze dryer controls.

Putting the Book Freeze Dryer to Work

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

We spent the first part of the morning practicing setting the controls and reviewing the maintenance procedures. Then we loaded up the freezer — a much awaited event. Our old freeze dryer had started losing freezer capability a few days ago. The books were still cold but had begun to thaw. We transferred them to our new freezer and turned the old one off. The freezer typically holds 200 books. However, since the art books are oversized, 103 volumes filled the freezer.

The purchase of the new freezer was made using Friends of the Libraries donations. The freezer arrived in the nick of time. The old freezer is beyond repair. The new freezer is allowing us to dry out the books on site, instead of sending them out of state to a commercial freeze dryer. We can inspect each book as it goes into the freezer, perhaps do some minor re-shaping, and pull it out as it dries and make any needed repairs before sending it back to the library. We can work a few through at a time and incorporate the art books into our regular work flow.

We wrapped some of our books before we boxed them up to transfer from the Art Library to the freezer in the Main Library as a precaution in case the inks on the cover bled. You can see that this book transferred some of the ink onto the paper. Without the paper wrap, the ink would have transferred to another book. The ink on the paper doesn’t quite line up with the image on the cover because it got shifted around during inspection before the transfer to the new freezer.

Art Library Books Looking Good

Friday, February 20, 2009

Caitlin and Kristin spent most of the day at the Art Library sorting through the air-drying books. They inspected almost 400 books. At the end of the day there were still 18 volumes needing more air drying time. The rest were put on carts. About 200 volumes will need repair work — flattening, small repairs, or new enclosures. About 180 books are ready for reshelving. Yes, we know the book in the photo is upside down! As a book is air-dried the book is rotated to make sure that all sides are dry. As a book starts to dry the water settles to the bottom. You can actually feel that the bottom of the book is heavier as you lift to turn it over.

More Wet Books

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Art Librarian called early this morning informing us that a pipe had burst, soaking the oversize art book collection. The good news was that they had caught the water break early and that it was clean water. The bad news was that a majority of the books had clay-coated pages (glossy like a magazine) and if they dried before we could separate the pages the books would become bricks –never to be opened again. We estimated that about 2,400 books were wet.

We were over with an assessment team by 9:15 AM. Staff arrived shortly after that with needed supplies and the work began. We began pulling books out and setting them up for air drying. It didn’t take long to figure out that we would not be able to air dry all the wet books.

The Art Librarian, Rijn Templeton, selected the most valuable books for us to air dry while I called in a freezer truck and supplies to box up the remainder of the books. We sent out a call for volunteers to assist. Help poured in all day (excuse the pun). By 3:45 PM we had 165 volumes dried, 296 still air drying, and around 1,800 volumes packed in boxes and on the freezer truck. Special kudos to Kim Carpenter, Art Library Assistant, for acting quickly when he discovered the leak.

Protective Boxes for Art Books

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

In 2007, School of Library and Information Science Preservation students Laura Guth, Sally Myers, and Kris Wiley prepared a preservation plan for the oversize collection of about 550 books at the University of Iowa Art Library. The plan called for sending a small number of items to Book Repair each week. In addition to any repair work, those items needing additional support and protection were to be sent on to the Conservation Lab. We implemented this plan late 2007.

Since making boxes of this size is hard on the hands and elbows, Linda Lundy makes only 1-2 a week. This means that we make slow but steady progress on this project. LInda has constructed 76 boxes so far.

Even though the Art Library is closed due to damage to the building during the June floods, staff are still retrieving for patron use. During these trips to the Art Library, items from the oversized area are pulled and forwarded to preservation. One piece sent over was: fNA280.W54 Atlas, Die Archaische Poros-Architekure der Akropolis zu Athen. The piece measured 17 3/8” wide by 23 ½” long. By the time the box was made, it measured 18 3/8” wide by 25” long. The preservation box enclosure will protect the piece from further damage by light, moisture and dust and will keep the piece sitting straight on the shelf.

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.

Locked Out!

Monday, July 14, 2008

I packed my shoes, flashlight, and face mask in happy anticipation that we would finally be able to get into the Art and Music libraries. Once at the library I spent a little bit of time with staff. We continue to slowly get the preservation basement area back into some semblance of order. The little dumbwaiter area had been cleaned out but both Deb and I reacted when we got close to the area. We set up a HEPA air cleaner and Deb experienced immediate relief. Then we started to work in the book repair area, opened a cabinet and about passed out from the fumes. OK, so another area missed and one needing a re-do. To be expected.  We discovered a plywood cabinet that needed to be hauled away and discarded. We’re making progress. That’s what counts.

Then off to Oakdale to check on that site. With Caitlin on vacation, Bill is filling in for the week. The carbon filters are definitely helping. The area smells much better. Still would like to get more air circulating. I notice that the air is set to auto and switch it to continuous. The items themselves smell so this might be the best we can do. I checked the storage area and all seems to be ok. No strong smells. But then maybe I’m getting used to it — if that is possible!

I dealt with mostly flood stuff all day; only about an hour on nonflood stuff. We’ve been given the word that staff reviews must be turned in if they were due at the end of June. We had one done, signed but not turned in. Turned it in and discovered that I failed to address a major initiative as a goal and have to revise.

We met friends at George’s to while away the time until I can get into the Art Library at 7PM. While at George’s my daughter called to tell me that our wood conservator is trying to get a hold of me. I called him while waiting to get into the Art Library. He’s exploring some product for sterilization of porous objects. At 7PM, we learn that someone dropped the ball and did not let public safety know that we were to be let into the Art and Music Libraries. We’re locked out. Told in no uncertain terms that we will not be let in. So go home. Public Services is short handed yet they have enough staff to send over two patrol cars to make sure we go home.