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Subject: Packing wet books

Packing wet books

From: Patrick B. King <mfd7326>
Date: Tuesday, May 11, 1999
Gillian Boal <gboal [at] library__berkeley__edu> writes

Quick and Easy packing for freezing? We have just had a medium flood
>in our Public Health Library. We had to pack and freeze dry 1200
>As a result, our current idea is to place a piece of freezer paper,
>precut to size of box, into the bottom of our boxes and to
>interleave paper, precut to size of box, between the books.
>All with the intent of preventing the books from sticking together.

I wonder if in fact the volumes were sticking together or were you
concerned that they might stick together?  It has been my experience
in handling materials that have been water soaked, contaminated and
damaged from a variety of sources including sewer water and flood
waters that materials stick together generally because the paper or
cover is emulsion coated or external residues (such as clay) are
present and were not removed (water washed) prior to packing.
Otherwise, when materials are properly packed, frozen and vacuum
freeze-dried, they do not stick together.  My curiosity is peaked to
learn what conditions existed in your loss experience that caused
the concern for "sticking"?

Interleaving is necessary as a tool to minimize or prevent color
migration, especially on red and blue cloth bindings.  When we
receive material that has been interleaved, aside from color
migration, the interleaving is removed prior to treatment.  This
involves further handling because the materials cannot be simply
transferred to crates.

I am curious to learn your reasoning for the extensive use of
freezer paper. What types of materials are involved in the library
materials, that would necessitate all the handling and need for such
extensive interleaving?  On the surface, it sounds like extra effort
that is unnecessary and would not contribute to the recovery
efforts, especially when you are "fighting the clock".

One of the tricks to successful vacuum freeze drying is proper
packing, which minimizes handling the materials in their fragile wet
condition.  The more the materials are handled; i.e. packed and
re-packed prior to vacuum freeze-drying, the greater the risk of
irreversible damage.

Recognizing the possibility that professional assistance might not
have been a fiscally responsible option in your situation, I can
offer some packing suggestions that might be helpful in the future.
Aside from plastic bags, corrugated boxes are perhaps the least
efficient containers to use for wet materials.  When vinyl milk
crates are not available to you, it might have been more useful to
line boxes with plastic bags and then pack.  However packed, unless
in proper crates, the materials would have to be transferred to
crates prior to vacuum freeze-drying.

I hope your library materials survived and look forward to hearing
more about your "sticking" problem.

Mary J. Moran
Midwest Freeze-Dry, Ltd.
7326 N. Central Park Avenue
Skokie IL  60076

                  Conservation DistList Instance 12:87
                  Distributed: Thursday, May 13, 1999
                       Message Id: cdl-12-87-012
Received on Tuesday, 11 May, 1999

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