Salvage of Water Damaged Collections
Books: Cloth or Paper Covers
Freeze or dry within 48 hours. Coated paper must not be allowed to air dry in a clump or it will permanently block together. If slightly damp and the pages are separable, air dry interleaved pages before items have an opportunity to dry. If saturated, coated paper must by frozen as soon as possible for subsequent vacuum freeze-drying.
Do not move items until a place has been prepared to receive them. Do not open or close books or separate covers. Oversized books need to be fully supported, it may only be possible to move one at a time.
Preparation for Drying
Closed books that are muddy should be rinsed before freezing. If air drying is not possible, books should be frozen within 48 hours. Separate with freezer paper, pack spine down in milk crates, plastic boxes, or cardboard boxes lined with plastic sheeting.
Coated paper requires that each and every page be interleaved with a non-stick material such as silicone release paper, Holytex, or wax paper. If the leaves cannot be separated without further damage, the book cannot be air dried successfully and must be prepared for vacuum freeze drying.
Air Drying is suitable for small quantities for books (less than 100 volumes) that are not thoroughly soaked. Requires space in an area away from the disaster to spread the books out. Books are stood upright and gently fanned open to dry. Keep air moving at all times using fans. Direct fans into the air and away from the drying volumes. Use dehumidifiers as needed to maintain humidity at or below 50 percent RH.
Oversize volumes must lay flat and should be turned when the blotter is changed. Pages should be interleaved with sheets of uninked newsprint or blotting paper that is changed as it becomes saturated.
Freeze Drying (not vacuum thermal drying) is suitable for large quantities of books and books that are very wet. Pack as described above and ship to drying facility.
Vacuum Freeze Drying is suitable for large quantities of books. Wet coated paper can only be dried by this method. Pack as described above and ship to drying facility. Pack carefully, as volumes packed with distortions will retain that distortion permanently after vacuum freeze drying.
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