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Subject: Thawing frozen books

Thawing frozen books

From: Karen Motylewski <nedcc>
Date: Wednesday, February 1, 1995
Sorry for being a late entrant on this conversation.  I often wet down
and freeze books for emergency preparedness workshops.  I've put them
either in the frost-free freezer at home or here at the Center.  On
occasion a workshop's been cancelled or postponed, and they've stayed in
the freezer for a protracted time.  In those cases the books have dried
very successfully over a period of 3-4 months, with no additional
attention. I can't calibrate how wet they were, or how they might
resemble or differ from the books in Alaska, but if they were mine, I'd
leave them in the freezer until dry if I didn't need access.  You can
follow the interleaving procedure, or you can stand them up on their
tails and gradually fan the pages as they separate naturally over the
drying period.  Naturally the room where you dry them needs to be cool
and dry, with good air circulation.

I want to echo everybody else's negatives on micro-waving.  I believe
Sally Buchanan at the University of Pittsburgh has successfully
experimented with microwaves as a drying strategy, but our experience
here was poor.  A few years ago a scientist at SUNY Syracuse proposed
microwaving books for insect extermination and there was a flurry in the
library literature.  Sherelyn Ogden and I tried his protocol on a few
samples.  It did kill insects (ants).  It also melted thermoplastic
adhesives and scorched a small embrittled 19th-c. book--from the inside
out, just like a roast.  (I think the catalyst was most likely a metal
particle in the paper.)  The problem with this drying strategy (in
addition to the above) is (1) the hard-to-control heat and (2) the wide
spectrum of paper and binding materials.  It's unlikely that a simple
protocol would work.

Karen Motylewski
Northeast Document Conservation Center
100 Brickstone Square
Andover, MA 01810
Fax: 508-475-6021
Use KM in subject field

                  Conservation DistList Instance 8:60
                Distributed: Thursday, February 2, 1995
                        Message Id: cdl-8-60-009
Received on Wednesday, 1 February, 1995

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