Sunday, March 4, 2012

Preserving Treasures After a Disaster: A Survival Guide for Books, Photos, and other Damaged Materials

RainyWeatherIconWater and dampness, so common in the Northwest, wreak havoc with many of our prized possessions, especially paper-based items. Fortunately, there are many online references for how to salvage damaged items. The Preserving Treasures After a Disaster resource on the Library of Congress Web site provides an excellent set of guidelines for salvaging items affected by water, contamination, mold, smoke and soot.

On air-drying books using a portable fan…

Fan drying a water-damaged book

Books that are half wet have the best result when air-dried. Fan books open and stand on top or bottom edge; never stand them on the front edge. Stand books on driest edge first as it is the strongest. As the book dries, turn it upside-down to the opposite edge every few hours.

Other items, such as photos, negatives, and documents, can simply be hung up to dry on a clothesline:

Drying water-damaged items on a clothesline

Other sections of the Web site cover protecting and preserving Family Treasures. For those who want to preserve a cultural slice of time, there’s even a section on Creating a Family Time Capsule.

How To Salvage Videos
Preservation Australia, a museum conservation and preservation services company, has posted a series of YouTube videos that demonstrate a number of techniques for salvaging water damaged materials, such as books, documents, photographs, and even textiles.

Here’s the step-by-step video entitled, Salvage of Water Damaged Books:

and its sequel, Air Drying Techniques for Water Damaged Books:

Hopefully, you’ll never need to perform these tasks, but if you do, there are plenty of resources for you to use.

Redmond Library Board

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