Thursday, February 12, 2009

From the Preservation Lab

One of the first activities for all lab interns is taking a stroll through the stacks to see where the items on which they will be working live. As the newest lab intern, Tina, and I walked through the stacks she spied an item that was bent over a short bookend. Though it wasn't an item that fit the scope of Tina's project, we couldn't leave it on the shelf, so I pulled it to repair.

A closer look showed the items to be several volumes of The Messenger, a newsletter of the Worcester State Hospital. The volumes in this collection were published between 1939 and the 1950s. All issues were folded due to the insufficient support of the folder in which it sat on the shelf, so the first steps were to remove the old folder and flatten the items under boards.

After several days the issues were removed from under weights and each was assessed for repairs needed. Most issues were in good condition except for deteriorating tape that had been used in the past to repair tears. On one issue, a the combination of the glue and the calendaring of the paper turned the paper brown but also made it translucent. In all cases the adhesive carrier had detached from the glue, leaving a yellow stain.

After all the issues were repaired individually, they were stacked in chronological order with a sheet of archival paper filed between each volume. A custom fit box was made of acid and lignin free buffered folder stock and the item was sent off to cataloging. Heavy folder stock was used for the box to provide needed support for this unbound item while it is shelved.
- Lacy Crews, Preservation Librarian