The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 14, Number 3
Jun 1990

LC Invites Expert Criticism on its RFP for Deacidification Services

Leading preservation professionals met at the Library of Congress in February to review the Library's forthcoming Request For Proposals (REP) for mass deacidification of its paper-based book and docment collections.

The Library convened 10 experts in the field to critically review the proposed RFP, to comment on the technical performance requirements, and to suggest improvements. The sessions were closed to assure the confidentiality required by Federal Acquisition Regulations.

To stem the tide of brittle paper resulting from almost a century and a half of acid paper production, the Library is engaged in a three-pronged effort. The Library promotes the manufacture and use of permanent paper, microfilm sane 20,000 volumes a year, and is in the process of procuring deacidification services with the expectation that it will soon be possible for the Library's acidic collections to be deacidified at a rate of one million volumes per year.

Today more than three million (25%) of the books in the Library's general and law collections are so brittle that they cannot withstand normal handling without risk of damage. Each year an additional 77,000 volumes become similarly brittle. The Library intends to meet the problem with the anticipated assistance of new technology.

Panelists included:

John P. Baker, chief, Conservation Division, The Research Libraries, New York Public Library

Gerhard Banik, preservation officer, National Library of Austria

Patricia Battin, president, Commission an Preservation and Access

George Martin Cunha, preservation consultant Robert Feller, Carnegie-Mellon Institute (retired) Richard Frieder, Preservation librarian, Northwestern University Library

Barclay Ogden, head, Conservation Department, University of California, Berkeley

Derek Priest, Professor, Department of Paper Science, University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology, United Kingdom

Leslie Smith, chief, Polymers Division, National Institute of Standards & Technology

F. Christopher Tahk, program director, Art Conservation Department, Buffalo State College

(From LC Information Bulletin, May 7)

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