Drying Books and Documents

The Northeast Document Conservation Center publishes a protocol for drying wet books and documents. The recommended recovery is applicable to damp items as well as wet ones. There is hope for salvaging records and documents stored in wet basements and water damaged attics. Freezing may be fundamental to restoration.
“The successful recovery of water-damaged library and archival materials depends on timely response to a disaster. Rapid response maximizes recovery of collections materials and expedites the restoration of services. To extend decision-making time regarding salvage and replacement, freezing is the most viable option for most institutions. Because it inhibits mold growth, freezing allows the time to determine if value, use, and format of the original are important, or to de-accession or purchase replacement materials or materials in a different format. Freezing also provides a respite to review insurance policies and vendor contracts. Finally, freezing will allow time to find space for air drying, determine if there is adequate staff and time to air dry, and to handle large incidents in a smaller, more controlled atmosphere.”