Record Cleaning

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Caitlin and I discussed the timeline for returning the LPs and 45s to the Czech Museum yesterday, and we decided to start forging ahead with the final wash of the albums. We are using the same method we used right after the flood, when there was still a ton of mud on the records. One tray with a mild and dilute soap, and another tray filled with only water for rinsing. As you can see, we  switched brushes–we needed a slightly stiffer brush for these more sturdy records. I am also holding the record upright, in order to minimize the water contact with the paper label, as we have found some of the inks will run.  After a quick dry on a rack, I don cotton gloves and wipe them to make sure there are no drips and then stack them to dry while I wash another round. In the afternoon, I then use a microfiber brush on the dry records and sleeve them. Then, after nearly a year of separation, the freshly washed record is reunited with a clean and newly sleeved cover.

It’s A Clover Mite!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The “bug guy” stopped by this morning. It is, indeed, a clover mite. Had we just consulted our marking/binding supervisor, Deb, we could have skipped consulting with our pest control contractor. When I told her about the clover mite, she said, “oh, yeah, my grandkids love them. They like to squish them and see the sidewalk turn red.” It’s all in knowing whom to ask! Probably most gardners would know that our bug was a clover mite.

The biggest danger to our books is that these bugs do easily squish and leave a red stain. We are monitoring the books. So far, nothing. Since they don’t breed in or munch on books, the books will go back to the processing area tomorrow.

Our pest control contractor told us that there are lots of these clover mites just outside the dock door and outside the south Main Library entrance. They either came in along with our box of books or rode in on the student who found them.

A careful observer — which I, obviously, am not — can see these little critters in the flowers just outside the library.

It Might Be a Mite

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

We had a little bit of excitement this afternoon. A student worker had a small red mite fall out of a book he was processing. We called the “bug” guy who will visit us tomorrow. We’re hoping it’s a clover mite. Apparently, they are plentiful this year. The clover mite does not like books but will leave a red stain if smushed. In the meantime, we’ve bagged the books from that particular shipment until we get confirmation of what we are dealing with.

Here’s text book photograph along side photo of our little critter:

Learn more about the clover mite at:

A Typical Day of Flood Recovery Work

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

I checked in with the conservation lab staff this morning. I happened to have my camera with me and thought you might like to have a snapshot of a typical day. This is the activity I captured at 10AM this morning.

While the ledger from the Johnson County Historical Society dries in the press, Gary begins to inspect and separate the pages from the next ledger in the queue.

While the records from the National Czech & Slovak Library & Museum are drying, Beth is mending a record cover.

Caitlin is cleaning a manuscript from the African American Museum of Iowa and Bryan is cutting board to make folders for Czech records.

Kristin is searching for the “perfect” spill guard to put around our new water system for the “just-in-case” pipe leak. The last time we had a pipe break all the water went into the Library Director’s office. Not a good thing!

Amanda’s Grandma’s Bible: A Tribute

Monday, May 25, 2009

Every once in a while, we get to make a difference in someone’s life. I think it’s fitting on Memorial Day and the anniversary of the Parkersburg EF5 tornado, to post these pictures of Amanda’s Grandpa opening the Bible that our conservator repaired as best he could. His wife, Amanda’s Grandma died in the tornado. If you look carefully, you can see the damage to the Bible. It now tells the tale of the tornado. We’re glad that we could contribute in our way by returning a little something of Amanda’s Grandma to her family.

Photos provided by Amanda.

Suitcase Saga Part 3

Friday, May 15, 2009

For the exposed metal I started with a medium grain steel wool to loosen the more rusted areas. I continued to vacuum the loose particles. The next step will be using a double beveled knife to try to remove some of the more stubborn areas of active corrosion. When the metal is cleaned and stable, I will replace the reinforced paper to the inside of the suitcase with wheat starch paste.

Suitcase Saga Part 2

Thursday, May 14, 2009

After I removed a majority of the mold I began to lift the paper lining where it was detaching. I did not attempt to remove the paper where it was still adhered because it is so brittle that it would just fall apart. For the areas I could not remove, I gently rubbed the finest grain of eraser crumbs over the surface with my fingers to get some of the dirt up and then vacuumed them with the Nilfisk. You can see all the active rust that was under the paper lining.

Suitcase Saga Part 1

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

This metal suitcase from the African American Museum collection was covered in rust and mold. It is also lined with brittle patterned paper. It’s a mess. I consulted with Gary to determine the best course of treatment.

To begin, I used the Nilfisk Vacuum with pipette attachment to get the fuzziest mold, being very careful to avoid catching the paper lining which is detached in many areas.

 Gary shows me how to lift out the loosened lining paper. �

Majestic troublemakers

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Three volcanoes overlook the city of Arequipa. Arequipa is known as ¨La Ciudad Blanca¨ or The White City, because of Sillar, the white volcanic rock that many of the buildings are constructed of. Another less desirable byproduct of the volcanoes is a fine glassy dust carried by the wind to settle in a fine layer over everything, including books. The dust is so fine it permeates even the smallest of openings. Many of the books are centuries old and have accumulated centuries of dust. One of the ongoing projects here in Arequipa is to clean and remove the books from the San Francisco Monastery. The Books are housed in a condemned building. Pictures of the library are unavailable at the moment but will be added later. You´ll just have to settle for the volcanoes which really are majestic troublemakers. Picchu Picchu is trying to hide beneath the cloud bank, but it´s there.



Picchu Picchu

Ojos Halcones Take Peru by Storm

Monday , April 20, 2009

For a week and a half, Gary, Joyce, and I have been working in Arequipa, Peru at the Recoleta Monastery. We have been stabilizing and protecting damaged books. Many of these books have been damaged in earthquakes. They are in suprisingly good condition considering how old they are and what they have been through. We have been doing some mending and uniting books with custom boxes built by Linda Lundy and Joyce Miller in Iowa City.  Below are pictures of the Recoleta and the collections we are working with.   �