Mass Deacidification

Written by Suzette Schmidt.

One of ways that the Preservation Department is proactively preserving the printed monograph collection is by sending certain items to be commercially “deacidified.”   Books are tested to see whether they qualify for this process by using an Abbey pH pen.    You make a dot with this pen at the top of the material, and then examine the color of the dot.

Purple =  not acidic.

Yellow = acidic.

If the book meets this criteria for being acidic, then the Library Assistant goes into Aleph (our online catalog) to change the availability status in the holding record.   Afterward, it is placed with other monographs waiting to be shipped in the next deacidification shipment.

When the materials are being prepared to be shipped, the books are placed in gray bins with the spine facing downward and are then covered with styrofoam packing to keep them protected.   After the bin has been loaded, the Library Assistant or Student Assistant will set it on the scale to determine its weight.

The shipment is usually returned to the Library by the commercial vendor within 3-4 weeks.    The Library Assistant then unpacks the gray bins, changes the holdings status to reflect that these books are now available, and then takes them to the Circulation Desk for that department’s check-in process on the materials.

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