Monday, May 4, 2009

The Library Celebrates MayDay

Last Friday the State Library celebrated MayDay, a national initiative for staff in cultural heritage institutions do one thing for emergency preparedness. At the library we educated staff on the wet salvage of printed library collections. This training focused on air drying materials, but also touched on packing materials in the event of a large water accident where materials would need to be frozen.

At left is the set up for the workshop, while the books were soaking up water.


During the workshop staff asked great questions and made thoughtful comments about salvage priorities, as well as future activities that could further prepare staff for water disasters.

Items as they were set up for air drying.



As one final example, I placed two books into an inch of dirty water on Friday to show staff what even just a small amount of water can do to collections if left for a weekend.

Here is one of the books as it was placed in the water on Friday.


And here is the same book on Monday morning. The water has migrated up to the top of the pages and has brought dirt from the water along with it.



The back cover was totally soaked with water while only a portion of the front cover was wet.


While I hope that the library will never have to deal with a major water disaster, I know that if we do, our staff have the knowledge to salvage collections quickly and appropriately.

- Lacy Crews, Preservation Librarian