Deacidification


CindyAfter spending 45 years on the ISU campus, first as an undergraduate and then as a library employee, Cindy Wahl retired June 1, 2015.  After earning a BA in Craft Design in 1974 and a BA in Art Education in 1975, Cindy started student teaching and realized that teaching might not be the career path for her.  So, in the fall of 1976, she went to the Home Economics placement office (the Art department was in Home Economics) to look at available jobs.  Carolyn Erwin was working in the placement office at the time and asked her what kind of job she wanted.  She replied, “any job that would allow her to move away from home (Anamosa).”  Carolyn said that the library was a good place to work and that she should go to the ISU placement office, which she did that day.  This was back in the day when applicants for merit positions had to take tests.  Cindy took the tests, went home, and received a phone call for a job interview at the library.  She moved into an apartment on Welch Avenue and started as a Clerk I in the Serials Department of the Library on October 18, 1976.  Within 18 months, she was promoted to a Library Assistant I and then to a Library Assistant III.  She worked at the serials Kardex and in Serials Acquisitions.  For a few months she did some basic Serials Cataloging which gave her a better understanding of records which she benefitted from in each position she held in the library.  She supervised the Kardex staff, and continued working in Serials Acquisitions when she was reclassified to a Library Assistant IV.  She spent the next 15 years in the Preservation Department working on vended services including preservation facsimiles, microfilm, digitization, mass deacidification, custom-fit boxes, and library binding, learning a lot about preservation and getting to know a plethora of vendor reps.

Cindy has been a life-long Cyclone fan since her father was a graduate of the ISU Veterinary College and her mom worked for Colonel Pride at the Memorial Union.  Her first memory of Ames was coming with her family when her dad had meetings one summer.  The family went to the Lincoln Way Café in Dog Town and shocked the waitress when 3 young Wahl children, ages 7, 4, and 3, all ordered liver and onions for lunch! Yum!

For Cindy the best part of working at the library has been the people she met and has gotten to know.  Last summer, she even had a library work friend from the 1970’s come to visit.  Over all those years, she has met and worked with so many and she enjoys keeping in touch with them.  The biggest change she witnessed were records in paper form and typewriters shifting to computers and digital records.

Now that she is retired and home from a trip to Chicago to attend her nephew’s wedding, she has stacks of books to read, including the complete library of Agatha Christie; “I need to get busy before the books become brittle.”  (The things you worry about after working in Preservation).  She has started reading one of the books from her stacks.  Her plan is to read a book and pass it on.  She also hopes to do some traveling with her sister and she has a long list of blanket weaving projects for each of her nephews and nieces; “I have more yarn than I have books.”

Thank you Cindy for all of the contributions you have made to the library over 39 years!

Written by Cindy Wahl and Suzette Schmidt of the Preservation Services unit.

Student employees are an important staffing component of the Preservation Services section of the Preservation Department at Iowa State University Library.  The unit has 3 staff employees, and with the volume of work being sent to and from the vendors, the students help make the workflow smooth and consistent.

1-SortingPeriodicals

Sorting and organizing periodicals.

Students are responsible for the filing of periodicals when they are received from our Serials Acquisitions department.  They sort and organize the issues prior to taking them to our Periodical Room or the General Collection for filing with the rest of the unbound issues.  While filing the periodicals, they also check the titles to see if there are now enough older issues on the shelf to pull and return them to staff in Preservation Services to have them prepared for binding.  In addition to pulling periodicals for binding while filing, we now have in place an electronic system where we can search, sort, and print out a list of periodicals that are now ready to be bound.  The student uses that list to organize and forward periodicals to staff for binding.

5-ShlevingInPerRm

Shelving issues in the Periodical Room.

There is a continual flow of work to be delivered and retrieved to other areas of the library and students are the legs for transporting these items.  With our Preservation Department being housed on two different floors and other departments spread throughout the five floors of the library, the students are valuable in moving work from floor to floor and department to department.

Boxing volumes to be shipped.

Boxing volumes to be shipped.

Preservation Services works with a variety of vendors for binding, reformatting, and mass deacidification, which all require packing and unpacking of volumes.  Students assist with this task while staff prepare the paperwork to be included with the shipments.  At times the volumes being shipped need a page-by-page review, and the students help with this process by noting any repairs, which are then handled by staff.  Upon receipt of the finished volumes, the new format is compared to the old volume by student employees to be sure the work is accurate and complete.

3-ReviewVolumes

Reviewing a thesis.

Some volumes being added to the collection need to have marking done to them prior to being forwarded for shelving.  These pass through the Preservation Services section where the student is responsible for stamping the volumes with the Iowa State University Library possession stamp, moving the bar code to the appropriate placement on the volume, and, if necessary, adhering the title and call number labels to the spine.

As work flows and tasks change within the Preservation Services unit, it is always important for us to review the assignments and use our students in the most productive manner.  They have shorter scheduled blocks of time, and their assistance is used best to help move the work through the unit and to help make the volumes available to patrons in a timely manner.

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.