[Table of Contents] [Search]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: Water Damage (long)


   It depends on how great the damage to the books - i.e., how much water
they absorbed. You did the right thing by putting them in the freezer;
this is called freeze stabilization, and will give you time to make
stress-free decisions about them. I've kept books in our campus Cold
Storage freezer for as long as a month.

   Were the books wrapped in freezer paper and waxed paper to prevent the
covers from sticking together?  The following are three steps you can
follow, depending on the severity of the water damage to the volumes.

  1) Water-saturated volumes:
       This is a volume whose covers and text block are completely soaked.
       Stand the volume on its head (with print upside down) on absorbent
paper. Have the covers open just enough to support the volume. Support
the text block itself with small squares of book board. Aluminum foil may
be placed between the inside of the cover and the endsheets of volumes
whose cover dyes appear to be creating stains. When most of the water has
drained, proceed as for "Damp volumes."

  2) Damp volumes:
      This is where moisture has penetrated beyond the covers, endsheets
and edges of the text block. This is a volume which has absorbed a
moderate amount of moisture in parts of its text block.
       Very carefully open the volume to not more than a 30-degree angle.
       For volumes of average thickness, begin interleaving with
absorbent paper about every 25 pages and keep the volume in an upright
position. Be careful not to interleave too much or the spine will become
concave and the volume distorted. Generally, a textblock should not be
expanded to more than one third of its normal size through interleaving.
Never attempt to peel open uncoated pages which are stuck together.
The interleaving should not be placed all the way into the fold. A good
grade of paper towel is more effective in absorbing moisture than blank
newsprint, but the newsprint is thinner and will not put as much of a
strain on the bindings.
      This interleaving paper serves as a wick to draw water out of the
book. By placing it so it extends past the edges of the volume, water is
drawn by capillary action through the interleaving toward the exposed
edges, where it will evaporate. Remove any saturated paper and replace
with new sheets in different locations of the volume as needed.

      A hand-held hair dryer operated on the air setting (no heat) can be
used if it is important to dry an item very quickly. Do not use microwave
drying - it will burn and char materials other than paper in the volume.
Oven drying should also be avoided because it can have a detrimental
effect on adhesives and can cause shrinkage & distortion to covers and
the text block.

     3) Slightly damp volumes/volumes with only wet edges
        This describes a volume with slightly damp covers, endsheets
and/or wet along the edges of the text block but not the text itself.
        Stand the volume on its head on absorbent paper and fan open
slightly. If necessary, they can be supported. Position the open volumes
so they receive maximum benefit from a battery of electric fans whose
blades are rotating at slow speed.  Volumes should be fanned occasionally
so that exposure to air and greater uniform drying is assured.
       If a volume is allowed to dry completely in an open position, there
will be distortion. Therefore, when the volume is almost dry it should be
closed and, if necessary, gently manipulated by hand into its normal
shape. It can be laid flat with the spine hanging over the edge of the
table and relatively light but evenly distributed weights (i.e. a brick)
placed on top of the cover until dry.

     4) Volumes with coated paper
        These are the worst.. they will become blocked (glued together)
in only a few hours or less because the glossy coating on the paper
developes into an adhesive. If they have been quickly retreived, it is
sometimes possible to save the volumes that are important enough to
warrant the time and effort tosave them, interleaving each coated page as
much as possible. The process, though, requires much dexterity (e.g.,
print will slide off the wet page if rubbed) and patience, and the
results are frequently disappointing. Do NOT allow wet volumes with
coated paper to dry in a closed state as the pages will permanently bond

   Let me know if you have any other questions. Good luck!

   Kay Dion
Library Assistant III                 |
Head, Perservation Unit               |
W.E.B. DuBois Library                 |
University of Massachusetts           |
Amherst, MA   01003                   |
kdion@library.umass.edu               |

> I wonder if anyone on the list could help us please.  We recently had the
> basement flood which damaged some 2 doz. books.  We were told to put them
> in a freezer right away.  How long do we leave them there and how do
> we repair the water damage once they come out of the freezer?
> Many thanks, Mercedes
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
>                   M. & M. Cirfi Walton
>                   University of Toronto
>            Internet:  mcirfi@chass.utoronto.ca
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

[Subject index] [Index for current month] [Table of Contents] [Search]