As Preservation Week continues, it is important to remember why this week exists.  Preservation Week was begun by the American Library Association with many partners in 2010 in order to bring awareness to the preservation needs of collections.  It has continually grown over the years and helped to raise awareness for the materials that need preservation.

In recognition of this week, The Genealogy Center has a full week of programming to assist our customers in their own preservation needs.  The Genealogy Center will also be posting blogs on different items in our collection that have been damaged and tips on how to prevent such damage.  We will also discuss how preserve the damaged material so it will not be further damaged.  

The next item that has been brought to our attention is a book turning brown from the acidity in the paper.  Acidity is one of the causes of damage in paper as it weakens the fibers that make up the paper and eventually destroys them. Subsequently, paper made from mechanical wood pulp decomposes quickly from within.

Tips to prevent damage: Unfortunately, the acidic paper composition is an inherent flaw.  In order to combat the decomposition of the paper due to the acid, the pH has to be increased.  This is possible through mass deacidification.  Mass deacidification is where an alkaline substance is added to the paper to neutralize the existing acid and prevent further decomposition.  

Tips to deal with damage: A way to work to reduce further decomposition is to improve the environmental storage conditions.  A method of doing that is by storing loose paper in inert polyester film sleeves.  Then place the materials in safe, cool, dry, dark environment.  For more information on preservation of acidic paper, visit this website.