Devastating flooding is an act of nature that can’t be avoided and can result in losses that total millions of dollars. This is especially true for libraries and similar institutions, which often have much more to lose than other organizations in the event of a flood, as demonstrated by the damaged books and other losses incurred when the Louisville Free Public Library in Louisville, Ky., experienced the unimaginable in August 2009.
A flash flood caused $5 million in damage to the system’s main library, leaving behind damaged computers, vehicles, furniture 50,000 damaged books. Luckily, the library had a comprehensive insurance policy to assist with the replacement of many of the items. And for those damaged books that were rare and out of print, the library still had options for preserving and returning them to its permanent collection.
Restoration of Damaged Books
Within recent years, state-of-the-art techniques have been developed to return water-damaged books and documents to, in some cases, a pre-loss condition. For libraries whose collections have been damaged by water, our vacuum freeze drying system offers a way to thoroughly dry and restore large volumes of books.
Within a sophisticated chamber, water-damaged books are blast frozen to a temperature of 0 to -20 degrees Fahrenheit. Inside the chamber, the ice that forms is transformed directly into a gaseous state, bypassing the melting stage through the manipulation of temperature and atmospheric pressure. This vacuum freeze-drying process has truly expanded the possibilities for restoring fragile materials.
The flooding at the Louisville Free Public Library serves as an example for all libraries, showcasing that no institution is immune to the sometimes devastating effects of Mother Nature. A library’s collection is its lifeline, and by choosing the right document restoration company with the right technology, these organizations can preserve their collections for future generations.
[Photo by: brighterdaygang, via CC License ]