The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 22, Number 7-8


Central Research Lab Has New Name, Address

A year or two ago, the Central Research Laboratory in Amsterdam changed its name, address, telephone and fax numbers and e-mail address. This must have put it out of touch with a number of people for a while. Somehow, the change was not announced in this Newsletter at the time. We will do that now. Mark your Rolodex, change your database if you want to stay in touch with Judith Hofenk de Graaff, Johan G. Neevel, and the other scientists there:

Netherlands Institute for Cultural Heritage
Instituut Collectie Nederland, Afd. O & A
PO Box 76709
1070 KA Amsterdam
tel. (31-20) 673-51-62; fax (31-20) 675-16-61;

The Lab's Research Abstracts of work done during 1996 are covered in the Literature section of this issue.

Three Big Mold Cleanups

The April issue of American Libraries had two news items on mold infestations which will be expensive to clean up. At California State University at Northridge, a reconstruction project was responsible for exposure to water and subsequent outbreak of mold, in which 500,000 items were affected. Cleanup is estimated to cost between $100,000 and $500,000.

The other news item deals with the Earl K. Long Library in New Orleans, where close to a million books were infested as a result of a carpet cleaning just before the library was closed up and air conditioning shut off for the long July 4 weekend. The State Emergency Board approved $1.56 million to clean up the books, which are valued at $45 million.

Last August, mold was discovered in the stacks of the Ellis Library at Arkansas State University/Jonesboro. More than 100,000 volumes were affected, with an estimated value of $3.3 million. Mary Moore, the dean of library and information resources there, relates the story of the recovery in the March 1999 issue of American Libraries (p. 46-49). "Within 90 minutes we had established a support team and had a stab at a plan. Brady Banta, our archivist, had located preservation consultant Karen Motylewski.... Reference librarian Sandy Lewis had done a literature review and located relevant print information, including a Solinet preservation leaflet, and we were meeting with the head of the physical plant and the environmental safety officer.... Within minutes they had found the major cause. Humidity in the library is reduced when air is first cooled, then reheated and finally cooled again. The reheating function of the air conditioner had malfunctioned. This problem was compounded by a major water leak in a mechanical room ... and by weather that was more humid than normal."

Cleanup was very effectively handled. Dean Moore even asked faculty to volunteer for a day of cleaning, after the library staff's energy dwindled from night after night of cleaning books. She was aware of the health hazards of mold exposure, and included information in her article, which reads like a (factual) adventure story.

National Library of Canada Has Lots of Floods

Extremely cold weather (27° below) was responsible for the pipe that burst in the National Library of Canada January 2, wetting 7,500 documents and books, which were moved to a freezer facility operated by the National Archives. Damage was estimated at $300,000. This was just the latest in a series of floods, according to the March 1999 American Libraries (p. 27). Twelve months earlier, another burst pipe engulfed some 14 million documents in a portion of the library building used by the National Archives, which has now moved most of its storage areas to a new state-of-the-art facility.

To cope with the problem of floods, library staff has been organized into Response Action Teams, trained in such techniques as wet-vacuuming, and a freezer truck is generally stationed outside the library to be ready for the next disaster.

Stricter Recycled Paper Mandate

Last fall, President Clinton signed a new executive order requiring the government to buy only paper with a minimum recycled content of 30% for all printing and writing, and to use biobased products (such as soy based inks) in their affirmative procurement programs. (PBA 1999, #725)

New Spray Deacidification Solution

Paul Robert Green, a British textile chemist with a Ph.D. in chemistry, announced in mid-March on the DistList that he and Howard Weaver, a paper technologist, had worked out a spray deacidification solution that would not leave a powdery deposit on the pages, gum up the spray nozzle, cause inks to run or use an environmentally unacceptable solvent. The solvent does dry slowly, however. Its name is Renaissance HA Liquid.

The cost is $16.40 for the average book. For details contact Howard Weaver, Renaissance Chemicals Ltd., Holly House, Brayton Lane, Brayton, Selby, North Yorks YO8 9DZ, UK (+44 1757 703852; fax +44 1757 212101). So far it has not been licensed for sale abroad.

Paul Green is the Conservation Officer at Leeds University (fax +44 113 233 5561).

LC Preservation Directorate's Volunteer Program

In March, the Library of Congress Preservation Directorate launched its Conservation Fellow Volunteer Program. The purpose of the program, organized in collaboration with the LC Visitor Services Office, is to provide opportunities for select LC volunteers to assist with the preservation of library collections.

Mark Roosa, Conservation Division Chief, is quoted in the LC Gazette as saying that it would provide a way for people who are planning to apply to conservation school to gain valuable pre-program work experience. They will work closely with Doris Hamburg, head of the Preventive Conservation Section, and other conservation staff on a variety of projects, involving rehousing and archival storage.

NISO Approves Two Standards

In January, balloting was complete for two standards of the National Information and Standards Organization (NISO):

Z39.79 Environmental Conditions for the Exhibition of Library and Archival Materials. Standards Committee MM, chaired by Cathy Henderson, will evaluate and respond to the comments.

Z39.78 Library Binding and Library Prebound Books. Standards Committee ZZ, chaired by Barclay Ogden, is evaluating and responding to the comments.

Both of these standards will be published in 1999.

Isinglass (Sturgeon Glue) Source

Three years ago, the IIC Bulletin carried a brief announcement that "sturgeon glue" was available from Andrei Andreev, a resident of Moscow who was distributing it worldwide. He could be contacted by fax on +7 095 336 6296, or by mail at Ak. Artzimovicha St. 16-378, 117437, Moscow, Russia.

Teachers of Preservation Have Helpful Web Site

PRESED-X, the preservation educators' exchange web site, originally designed by Bob Decandido of the NYPL, was updated early in 1999 and is now available through the Regional Alliance for Preservation (RAP) site

The site includes course syllabi, workshop outlines, handouts and exercises used in training, as well as links to related resources. Comments and additions are welcome and should be sent to Christine Wiseman, who posted this notice on the DistList in February. She is the Preservation Education Officer, SOLINET, Inc., 1438 W. Peachtree St., NW, Suite 200, Atlanta, GA 30309-2955 (800/999-8558, ext. 241; fax 404/892-7879).

Alkaline Paper Production Continues to Increase

One mill in Japan is in the process of converting to alkaline production: Nippon's Ishinomaki mill. The conversion will be complete by October 1999.

Four years ago, Poland got its first alkaline paper mill, when the Kwidzyn mill converted to alkaline, with calcium carbonate as a filler.

Mills in Schongau, Germany, and Docelles, France, started using their onsite PCC (precipitated calcium carbonate) plants in 1998, which means they were switching to alkaline production; similarly with Madison Paper Industries in Madison, Maine, which makes alkaline magazine papers with acid-tolerant PCC.

Champion's immense Courtland mill in Alabama is in the process of converting, and plans to be finished in 1999.

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