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Preservation Students at Work

Tuesday, September 28, 2010 11:28 am

My Preservation students perform much of the work my area. This work involves repairing damaged books and making protective enclosures. The students who work in Preservation spend many hours learning and perfecting each technique. There is a learning curve (and sometimes a measuring curve!) for each technique.

I thought I’d post a few photographs of my students at work.

Josh Wheeler toning Japanese paper with Dr. Martin’s Watercolors to match the color of the leather. We have toned Japanese paper, but the color is only close to the actual color of the leather. Using a chart I made, you can match most paper and Dr. Martin’s watercolor to any leather color.
Josh working on book repair

Beili Li constructing a four-flap protective enclosure from archival bristol. This activity involves measuring theitem to be enclosed, then calculating, measuring and scoring a piece of bristol
board to wrap around it securely. The scoring is done by hand using a hand-held scoring tool.
Bei Li making 4-flap enclosures

Brittany Newberry making an archival box from archival board. This activity involves measuring the item to be enclosed, then calculating, measuring and scoring a piece of archival board
board to wrap around it securely. this board is thick and must be scored using a scoring machine and cut on the large board shear.
Brittany constructing archival boxes


Friday, September 10, 2010 12:44 pm


Usually in Preservation, we put things back together by repairing and restoring something that has come apart through age and use. However, in some cases, we also “take things apart.” In the case of a binding where we might want to scan individual pages, we “disbind” or take apart the binding itself to reveal the individual pages. In this case, I am dis-binding a bound Biblical Recorder from 1867 which we will scan, and then re-bind.

Preservation in LIB100

Sunday, September 5, 2010 2:07 pm

Repaired Bible

One of the students in my LIB100 class brought in an old Bible and asked me to repair it. I figured this might be a nice gesture, so I did. The Bible came from Israel and has wooden covers. Each cover has a small circular place in which water and soil from Israel has been placed inside a glass container. The first step of the repair was a simple matter of stabilizing the text block to secure the loose pages. I then checked for loose pages as I turned through the book itself. When I found a few of these loose pages, I tipped them in. The final step was to glue a thin leather strip to the spine.

Mold Remediation and Prevention- ALCTS Webinar

Thursday, May 13, 2010 1:57 pm

This webinar was presented by Michele Brown, Book Conservator at Cornell thought ALCTS as part of ALA Preservation Week.
Mold is a fungi which reproduces by spores and is found everywhere. They also contain carbon. Mildew is just a form of mold. All substrates can support mold, both inside and outside our bodies. Molds can be very beneficial…and also tasty (think Brie).
As mold grows, it releases enzymes and toxins and it actually digests the substrate it is on. Spores form and become airborne and are very hard to kill. When a spore matures, it is released and has everything it needs to form a new colony. It just needs the right conditions to become active. Inactive mold is hard to remove, but active mold can be easily removed. Good air circulation is very important for preventing mold growth. “Foxing” is a form of mold growth which causes permanent stains in a book, probably is caused by mold introduced when the paper was made. Mold spores cannot be eliminated in the air.
Mold growth on library materials is permanent. Isopropyl alcohol is best as a treatment for inactive mold spores on books. Active mold spores can cause health problems, especially for individuals with low immune function. In order to keep mold out of our collections, we should keep a low relative humidity (40-50 %) and have good air circulation. We should try to keep dust off of our library materials as well. Gift materials should be examined carefully for mold growth. In order to remove mold, one should use gloves, an air respirator and goggles. You should isolate any mold-affected areas, and quarantine the area with plastic if you can. To deactivate the mold growth in an area, you should lower the humidity and allow areas to dry. Inactive mold looks like dust and can then be removed by vacuuming with a HEPA filtered vacuum and wiping with a dry-cleaning sponge. The shelving the affected books were on should then be cleaned with bleach. The environment should then be monitored to make sure mold growth dies not return. Any severely affected books or materials should be discarded.
Mold can develop in as little as 48 hours and should be treated as a health hazard. There is no one chemical that will kill all mold, but alcohol will kill most molds.
Source: Invasion of the Giant Mold spore

This really annoys me!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010 2:53 pm

2 many post-its!

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.

End of Semester Repairs Really Stack Up!

Thursday, December 10, 2009 12:44 pm

Stack of Repairs

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.

Before and After Mold Cleaning

Monday, November 16, 2009 3:00 pm


After Cleaning

Moldy Books

Monday, November 16, 2009 2:58 pm

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.

Cleaned books - air drying

Is this Preservation?

Friday, April 24, 2009 7:53 am

Portable Communion box

Portable Communion box

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.

Map Repairs

Thursday, March 19, 2009 2:44 pm

1537 map  detail

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.

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