Special Collections & Archives Blog

In the 'Preservation' Category...

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.

Ice Cream Incident

Friday, February 27, 2009 11:18 am

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.

Ice Cream Disaster

Bug in a book

Friday, September 26, 2008 9:33 am

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!

Chinese librarian visits ZSR

Monday, July 14, 2008 9:04 am

On July 11-12, Phoebe Kao, a librarian from an international school in Tianjin, China visited ZSR Preservation for two days of book repair training. Phoebe came to ZSR via the NCPC web site and over several months, we were able to arrive at a good time for her to come. During her two days in Preservation, Phoebe made two books (western case bound book and an eastern stab binding), replaced spines, tipped in pages, repaired paper tears with heat-set tissue and also tackled a range of other odd repairs. Phoebe and I also spent a good amount of time discussing decision-making before beginning repairs. As a repair is only as good as the materials and technique used, this was time well spent. Another area we discussed was materials and supplies and what suppliers were best for various items. We spent a good deal of time on repairing paperbacks, since much of Phoebe’s collection is paper bound.

Phoebe actually went through the steps of cutting large sheets of paper, folding them into 3 sheet signatures, sewing them with linen thread, attaching end sheets, making a case, and attaching the text block to the case to create a book. Making a book from “scratch” is always a special experience and I felt Phoebe was very happy with her book. This was a great experience from my viewpoint because I felt I was giving information and knowledge directly to a person who needed it badly. Service is a key point in the profession of librarianship and I felt this was a two day service venture that was profitable for both Phoebe and myself.

Intemediate Book Repair Workshop

Wednesday, July 2, 2008 2:03 pm

On June 6, 2008, I taught an Intermediate Book Repair workshop for the North Carolina Preservation Consortium at Wake Forest. There were nine people from various schools across the state: ECU, WFU Professional Center Library, Catawba College and Appalachian State, Warren Wilson College and Campbell University. During the day, I covered a variety of repairs: spine replacement, tipping in pages, end sheet replacement, 4-flap enclosures, paper tears and tightening hinges. The great thing about these workshops is the opportunity to learn from each other and share our collective knowledge. There’s more than one way of doing many of these repairs, so I enjoyed getting ideas from the participants. The NCPC workshops have a basic, intermediate and advanced workshop structure. The basic workshops are the most popular and cover the most ground. The intermediate workshop adds more complicated repairs to the mix. We’ve only offered the advanced workshop one time. This is a great way to share your knowledge and experience and make contact with others doing similar work across North Carolina. I always have a good feeling after doing these workshops.

Water Disaster on April 10th in the Stacks

Thursday, April 10, 2008 2:10 pm

On April 10th about 2:30 pm, Heather Gillette was told by a student that water was leaking on some books on Wilson 6. She called Kristen Morgan, who notified the Disaster Team. Fortunately, only about 25 books were affected. A gasket failed between two metal parts which saturated the ceiling tile as water leaked. as Heather approached the leak, a soaked ceiling tile fell on the floor and shattered. A number of library staff responded to help. The shelves were covered with plastic sheets and the pieces of tile were cleaned up. Facilities Management responded quickly to repair the damaged part. A close call!

Basic Book Repair Workshops at ECU

Thursday, January 31, 2008 9:23 am

NCPC Basic Book Repair Workshop, ECU Jan 24-25, 2008

Laupus Medical Sciences Library

For two days, my colleague, Rachel Hoff and I, discussed and taught preservation concepts and treatments. It was two day-long Basic Book Repair Workshops sponsored by NCPC. Rachel and I have been teaching these workshops for several years both together and individually as our schedule permits. To prepare for this task, in 2004, we both received a 2-day training course at the Etherington Conservation Center in Greensboro.

We discussed the library environment-cleaning, mold, dust, pest management, etc. and also covered the key preservation issues of “Do No Harm”, reversibility, and appropriate adhesives. Because this was a basic workshop, we also covered tools and assembling a tool kit, reference books (we gave them a bibliography) and web sites for preservation, and suppliers (they received a list). Each participant also received a glossary of preservation terminology, a diagram of the parts of a book, and step by step instructions on spine replacement, tearing Japanese paper and the use of heat-set tissue. We also briefly discussed disaster recovery and treatment solutions.

After the hour long discussion, the rubber hit the road. Rachel demonstrated various methods of tipping in loose pages and hinge tightening methods. Following this, I demonstrated the spine replacement my own students do. We completed making a new spine piece for each book and following a nice lunch overlooking the Medical Sciences campus, we glued the new spine piece into each book. We also demonstrated using heat-set tissue to repair paper tears and tearing Japanese paper for hinge reinforcement.

These workshops are gratifying because many individuals are not able to get this training and are very appreciative of our workshops.

Adjusting a Board Shear

Tuesday, January 8, 2008 11:14 am

In Preservation, I cut heavy archival board with a large cast iron machine called a board shear. Mine was made by the Jacques Manufacturing Co, in Worchester, Massachusetts probably in the 1930’s and was originally used for box making. Book binders everywhere have bought these old machines to use in their work since nothing else can acccurately cut heavy board.

My board shear had the blade and plate sharpened this summer by a knife company in Virginia. This involved shipping 2 four foot long metal blades via UPS on a wood support.

As time has gone by this year, the blade began to rub against the plate on the deck. I contacted the company I purchased the board shear from –American Graphic Arts, Inc. for help. They advised me how to make an adjustment, which involved loosening a large lock nut, which allowed a second bolt to be loosened or tightened. This done, my student assistant, Trey Godwin, and I played with the adjustment until we had the right amount of rub of the blade, and the best and cleanest cut. When the adjustment was made, we tightened the lock nut, and now all our cuts are ‘sweeet’.

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