When the Dam Breaks:
Salvaging Water-Damaged Books


Although water can certainly cause a significant amount of damage to a library and the materials contained within it, all is not necessarily lost for a wet book. Prompt action by staff can prevent other items in the collection from being damaged, as well as slow or even stop further damage in items that have already been affected. Quickly stabilizing the environment as well as the individual affected items is the first step to minimizing damage and loss. While the damage needs to be assessed as soon as possible, freezing water-damaged books can be an economical method of buying time to perform such an assessment correctly. There are a wide variety of situations that the salvage team may be faced with, however by thinking carefully before acting, and yet still responding with minimal delay, the majority of a library's collection can be saved.

© 2006 Stacey Bissell
Originally written for LIS 598, August 2005
Adapted for LIS 600, March 2006
School of Library and Information Studies
University of Alberta