The most damaging and anticipated type of damage we can expect will mostly relate to water. In the case of fire, water damage will still result. Other types of damages and severe situations will likely require the kind of expertise which will need to be brought in from the outside. In the meantime therefore this Plan mostly relates to what to do in the event of water damage where immediate action that has been planned ahead is necessary.


When in doubt, freeze an item which has been damaged by water as quickly as possible.In case of water disaster for books:

  • Cover stacks with plastic sheets if from above, or obviously move books out of water if below, as needed. Disaster materials are located in Fan Room.
  • Move undamaged books away from danger area and wet books.
  • Heavily damaged books beyond recovery and less important works should be discarded; anything you really don’t need should be quickly removed. (Consult deaccession policy and follow withdraw procedures.)
  • In case of lightly damaged books, use fans and carefully open pages. Expect two weeks to recover at least.
  • Badly damaged but recoverable books worth saving, and rare books, need to be frozen (-10 degrees F at least) immediately and may take months to recover. They should be put in wax paper and kept closed, loaded spine down in plastic crates, if possible each volume should be encased tightly between acrylic boards. If a book is open when it gets wet, leave it that way. Do not try to restore books but pack as is.
  • Temperature should be kept at 65 degrees in areas affected by water, and humidity kept at 35 degrees or lower with constant air circulation with fan. Mold is the principal enemy and must not be allowed to grow.
  • Anything with wet or glossy paper should be frozen immediately.
  • In the case of a large number of volumes, even those slightly wet should be frozen if they cannot be air dried.

In case of water damage for other materials:

  • Treat periodicals the same as books, those with shiny pages must be frozen.
  • Documents or Unbound material – air dry or freeze as found.
  • CD’s, DVD’s – Wash with soft cloth, dry, clean or replace containers.
  • Microfilm silver halide – freeze and send to be restored.
  • Newspapers – air dry or use cloth.
  • Photographic materials - air dry but separate all materials first, or freeze.
  • Videocassettes – air dry after removal from cases.

Controlling Mold:

  • Temperature below 70 F
  • Relative Humidity – ideal 45-50 degrees, ok 50-60 degrees
  • Turn on lights
  • Remove any air duct blockages
  • Clean heating exchange coils
  • Clean air ducts
  • Fix or eliminate mold at source
  • Ventilate air to outside to avoid spreading mold to air ducts
  • Do not automatically assume ozone is a solution to mold, ozone can accelerate the breakdown of paper that is highly acidic.