The Library of Congress finally issued its RFP (Request for Proposals) on September 13. It has about 135 pages we a friendly cover where, in place of a title, it says, "The Library of Congress, Requests Your Proposal To Provide Deacidification On A Mass Production Level Of Paper-Based Books In The Collections Of The Library of Congress." Of course the vendors of deacidification services are happy to see this document because it opens for them not only the possibility of getting LC work, but the whole market, because nearly everyone has been waiting for LC to go first.
Testing will be done at an independent lab, according to LC's protocol, and at LC's expense.
The schedule of procedure is tight. There was a bidder's meeting on October 15, to allow them to ask questions and see the LC facilities. The bids are to be in by January 7. The contract may be awarded to one or more suppliers.
The plan is to do a million books per year, of which 1/3 will be the new books. The books already on the shelf will be deacidified only if they are acidic but not yet brittle, which makes sense, but the new books will apparently be deacidified whether they need it or not. So will the books that have been newly bound, repaired, or relabelled. The rationale for this policy decision is not explained. But at least books will not be re-deacidified if they are acquired, bound and relabelled at different times, because they will be marked after treatment on the textblock and spine.