When working with water damaged books, experts begin with a review of the book’s value and a thorough analysis of its condition. Still, it is possible to address certain problems from a more general perspective – for example, by following the tips we’ve listed below for repairing flood damaged books.
Librarians and book restorers use a process commonly referred to as “tipping in” to rebind a lone page. A thin strip of adhesive is used to tape the detached page back into the book. A word of warning: This should not be done when the pages are brittle. Also, be sure to use archival-quality adhesive so the process can be reversed without causing damage.
Take a close look at each of your flood damaged books. Some loose covers can be fixed by using special adhesives to reattach the area where the cover and text join. Recasing or recovering may be required if the old cover can no longer protect the volume.
Sewn bindings may be re-sewn by removing the text block, separating it from the covers, removing any spine lining and replacing the thread. Adhesive-bound books tend to break much more easily; to fix them, a small slice of the book’s spine is cut off so as to create a fresh surface for adhesive. Again, this is not recommended for brittle pages, and restoration experts must be careful not to cut off any text when cutting into the book’s inner margins.
Water damage can be complicated, so we recommend calling an expert in drying out flood damaged books. A restoration company like Polygon can help libraries and archives remove muck while also drying out damaged books. Desiccant air and vacuum-freeze drying are two of the technologies book restoration specialists rely on.
[ Photo by: Wild Guru Larry, via CC License ]