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Subject: Library of Congress mass deacidification contract

Library of Congress mass deacidification contract

From: Dorothy A LaValle-Hagag <dlav>
Date: Friday, December 21, 2001
Saving the Written Word: Library of Congress Awards Mass
    Deacidification Contract

The Library has awarded a contract to Pittsburgh-based Preservation
Technologies L.P. (PTLP) that will save 1 million books and at least
5 million manuscript sheets from further acid deterioration.

This contract, the third awarded to PTLP since 1995, will permit the
Library to increase preservation productivity and save increasing
quantities of endangered materials over time.  The contract calls
for ramping up treatment during the remaining four years of the
contract, FY 2002-FY 2005, increasing annual book deacidification
from 100,000 to more than 250,000 books per year by the fifth and
final year.

Congress has demonstrated continued support for the Library's plans
to save millions of books and manuscripts by approving funding for
this important endeavor. As the national library and the official
library for the U.S. Congress, the Library of Congress has focused
its early mass deacidification efforts primarily on collections of
Americana.  The deterioration of acid-containing paper presents a
formidable challenge, because this degradation undermines the use
and long-term preservation of library collections and archival
materials worldwide.  The Library of Congress has provided
leadership over several decades in the development and evaluation of
mass deacidification processes and their application to valuable,
at-risk book collections and other paper-based items to achieve
economies of scale.

With strong support from Congress, the Library has worked with
Preservation Technologies under two previous contracts to deacidify
more than 400,000 books, using the Bookkeeper deacidification
technology that was pioneered by PTLP.  The Bookkeeper process
exposes paper to acid-neutralizing chemicals.  Using a suspension of
magnesium oxide particles to neutralize the acid and leave a
protective alkaline reserve, Bookkeeper halts deterioration and adds
hundreds of years to the useful life of paper. Under the new
contract, the Library will continue to provide training and
oversight to PTLP staff who select books for treatment; charge out,
pack, and ship volumes to the deacidification plant in Cranberry
Township, Pennsylvania; and then reshelve books following treatment.
Library staff provide contract administration and quality control
over the selection and refiling of books as well as laboratory
testing to monitor the effectiveness of treatment.  Library staff
have also developed procedures to ensure that information about each
deacidified book is captured in the holdings record in the Library's
bibliographic database.

Preservation Technologies has engineered new horizontal treatment
cylinders that it uses to offer deacidification services to
libraries and archives for the treatment of loose manuscripts and
other items in unbound formats.  The Library's new contract
authorizes PTLP to build and install a horizontal manuscript treater
and a Bookkeeper spray booth in a Library building on Capitol Hill.
This will enable the Library to treat large quantities of
paper-based materials in nonbook formats, such as newspapers,
manuscripts, maps, music scores, pamphlets, and posters.  Additional
information about the Library's mass deacidification program is
available at <URL:> or by
contacting the Library's preservation projects director,

    Kenneth Harris
    <khar [at] loc__gov>

                  Conservation DistList Instance 15:46
                 Distributed: Friday, December 21, 2001
                       Message Id: cdl-15-46-004
Received on Friday, 21 December, 2001

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