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 to preserve the damaged material so it will not be further damaged.  

Today, we are going to focus on silverfish.  Thankfully, we have not had this issue at The Genealogy Center but we have been asked about what to do if silverfish get into a personal collection.  This being the case, our photograph of interest is of a nasty little silverfish.  This bug is the arch enemy of archivists.  

Silverfish eat carbohydrates such as sugars or starches in adhesives.  This includes books, carpet, clothing, and glue.  For this blog, the important item on that list would be books!  Once you discover silverfish in your materials, isolate them.  Put the infested materials in a container that you can seal away from your other materials.  

You have several options at this point.  You could introduce chemicals to your materials but this is not advisable if you wish to preserve them.  Another option is to freeze the materials.  This will kill the silverfish and if done properly, will not harm your materials.  

For general pest control information and how to prevent infestation, click here