1091 Project: Whither the Weather?

1091MapFor this month’s 1091 post, we’re taking a moment to appreciate the impact Mother Nature can have on the preservation of heritage collections, both in terms of natural disasters and climate. After two years of severe drought in Iowa, we have been keeping an anxious eye on groundwater and river levels throughout a spring season of near-daily thunderstorms and heavy rains.  We’re keeping our fingers crossed that we will not have a repeat of the 2010 flood in Ames, during which parts of the University were flooded and thousands of working documents and architectural plans were damaged.


If you’re not familiar with the Midwest, you might glance at these photos (taken from the window of our Conservation Lab) and think you see mountains in the distance, but this is Iowa, and those are storm clouds rolling in over the prairie.


Even without flooding, these relentlessly damp, humid conditions have increased the risk of mold blooms, and we have seen more ground-dwelling insects driven indoors by high groundwater.  Let’s head over to Preservation Underground to find out how Mother Nature has been treating North Carolina, home to Duke University Libraries.


  1. “Not mountains” made me both laugh and cringe. Yikes. We, too, have seen a lot more critters due to the moisture and, I think, the beginnings of construction/renovation. We had terrible ant problems this year, according to the pest guy they were looking for water sources and had been seen on all six floors. I’m not looking forward to when construction really starts kicking up stuff, who knows what will crawl out of the old drains.

    1. So far, we haven’t seen many ants in the Library, but they are plaguing us at home, seeking refuge from their flooded anthills. I hope you don’t see too many more nasties once construction starts.

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