We all use things to mark pages in our books: receipts, slips of paper, brochures, tickets, paper clips, and Post-it Notes. Post-it Notes have an adhesive on them which transfers to the surface it is applied to. This adhesive residue, in turn picks up dirt or other foreign particles and cause them to stick to the book. I understand the need to mark a pages or pages in books one might be using as research materials. I don’t want to be harsh or mean, but please remove Post-it Notes from books before you turn them in. It’s better for the books and their future users, and it is a considerate thing to do.
It’s the end of the semester and exams are upon us. During this time of the academic year, students begin to return the books they’ve held onto. Many of these books are damaged: waterlogged, dog-chewed, ripped, with broken joints and ripped spines they are generally hurting. Much of the focus for Preservation must now be placed on the circulating collections and repairing those titles that had a tough fall. Soon, we’ll be repairing joints, replacing spines, tipping in loose pages and replacing damaged end sheets. By the start of Spring Semester, these books will all be back on the shelf ready for use.
A small group of books were recently found in Rare Books with mold on them. We surveyed the area and found everything that looked even remotely moldy. I cleaned them with alcohol and let them air dry. My theory is these books grew mold because they were in a glass covered book case with no air flow. The space is not humid. I’m hopeful these valuable books – written by Voltaire 1760′s- will not see any more mold growth.
Recently, I was asked to repair and recover a small box used for transporting communion materials. I assume this would be used for taking communion to an ill person who couldn’t travel. I removed all the hardware, and recovered the box with book cloth. I then, replaced the handles and latch. It seems to be in reasonably good shape to continue on it’s mission of good will.
I ask you: is this preservation?
I guess so.
I recently received a map which was sewn into a 1537 book entitled: Novus Orbis Regio. This map was torn into two pieces after a small accident in Rare Books. Looking at this map, I decided to remove it from the book to perform the repair. First, I flattened the map, smoothing out dog ears and small folds. I then tore small pieces of heat-set tissue to use as tabs to hold the pieces of the map together.
The heat-set tissue comes on a roll a little more than 12 ” in width. It took two lengths of the tissue to cover the entire back of the map. The heat-set tissue is adhered to the back of the map with an iron. The iron is moved slowly over the heat-set tissue, which is covered by a silicone release paper to avoid sticking to the iron. After the entire back of the map was covered, the edges were trimmed of excess tissue and the map was done. I then re-attached the map to the book.
A group of nine books appeared in my office this week. Across the top of these books is a sloppy puddle of dried Cookies and Cream ice cream. You can see the outline of an upturned container in the dried ice cream. So this seems to be either an intentional thing or negligence on the part of one of our library patrons. Two of these titles will like be discarded as unsalvagable. The remainder can be cleaned and returned to circulation.
On Thursday, October 30th, several members of the ZSR Disaster Committee gathered in Preservation for training. This is important since many times a disaster happens when key personnel are absent or unavailable. In that kind of situation, the more eyes and hands that know what to do, the better. We began by walking through the library to show everyone where we’ve stored caches of disaster supplies, such as boxes, tape, plastic sheeting, butcher paper, etc. Following this, we reviewed packing wet materials. The library materials should ideally be packed ‘spine down’. This protects the books from further damage after getting wet and being stored improperly. Larger books can also be stored with the largest book on the bottom and stacked in a pyramid fashion. After wetting down a group of ‘discards’, we practiced packing the books properly, wrapped in butcher paper, spine down. We also demonstrated scanning the barcodes of each item to record the titles being recovered. This was a useful exercise both for new staff and for review.
On Friday, September 26, I was summoned by the Circulation Staff to look at a returned book. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire had a cockroach smashed within it’s pages. I immediately photographed it (see a photo at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zsrlibrary/2890143658/), and took the steps necessary to have the book withdrawn. I was relieved when I went to the trash area and saw them removing the trash-this meant the bug and the book were gone immediately.
This incident shows how easily a pest can enter a library. If this bug had not been dead, he no doubt would’ve joined others hidden in our building. Good riddance!
Seven preservationists from across North Carolina participated in a Leather Repair Workshop was held in the ZSR Preservation Lab, July 24-25, 2008. The workshop presenter was Jim Hinz, a Book Conservator at the Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts in Philadelphia. The workshop was sponsored by the North Carolina Preservation Consortium, and was attended by preservationists from NC State, UNC-CH Medical Sciences Library, ECU, UNC-G and Duke. During the workshop, we learned to re-attach loose boards, dye, consolidate and pare leather. We also learned to use a leather paring machine and re-back a damaged leather spine. It was a lot of information for two days, but was super useful for my vast array of damaged leather books in Preservation!