As Preservation Week begins, 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. 

Maybe you have been hunting for a copy of an old family history that several cousins have mentioned and finally find one online. Or maybe you are browsing a used book store and find a county history in the area in which your ancestors lived. Congratulations! You buy the book, or get in the mail, gleefully open it and start to sneeze. You mutter to yourself, “Book dust!” and gamely continue turning the pages, Book Mold 1coughing and blowing your nose. That may be dust, but it may also be mold or mildew. For some, this is a nuisance, but others are violently allergic to this mold. You have your treasure, but you have some less pleasant stuff along with it.


We also receive books that have mold and mildew, and occasionally, our own volumes Book mold 2develop mold, as you can see in the attached photo. Mold and mildew is cause by a damp environment and poor air flow. Books in basements, in closets or along outside walls are more vulnerable to mold. Being a fungus, mold sends out spores, so other books will be infected. Mildew often follows mold and imparts a dank smell to your library. If you discover mold or mildew on any of your books, separate the book from the rest of your collection, preferable in another room. For more valuable books, a professional conservator may be hired to clean the volume, but has detailed instructions on cleaning you can do at home, including removing mold and mildew, drying wet books, and removing the musty smell.


Once you’ve removed an infected volumes and cleaned those that you can, be sure to keep a sharp watch in the future to nip any mold in the bed!