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First Aid for Flood Damaged Books

By December 13, 2010No Comments

With the recent flooding and heavy rains, we have received calls from panic stricken book lovers about how best to save water damaged books and documents.
Our friends at the State Library of New South Wales provided some first aid rescue tips. You will need a bit of space and lots of patience.

* assess your damage and decide what is irreplaceable to you

* if they are really muddy, rinse under gently running clean water

* remove any plastic covers

* if any items show signs of mould, isolate these  quarantine them or they will “infect” other books

* sort out books with glossy pages  these tend to stick together more easily so early intervention is best

* fan the books into an A or V shape for drying

* put them in a well aired area  you can use a fan set on “cool” to circulate the air

* put them on a hard, non-absorbent, colour-fast surface to prevent moisture from being retained under the books and prevent them from sticking to the supporting surface

* put sheets of plain paper towel (with no colours or designs) between the pages when the book is fanned out  insert between each page if possible if this doesn't increase the thickness by more than one third

* you can put one book per freezer bag into the freezer as a temporary step and deal with it later

* do not put any weights on the book  let it dry out first

* make sure the book is completely dry before you try to press out any bumps or wrinkles.

For more info check out the fact sheets from the State Library of New South Wales' Collection preservation Branch:

drying wet books

dealing with mould