The Report of the Rescue Operation at the Library - Last Part

Rescue operation of books

Published on 8 May 2011

Author(s): Network for Historical Materials/Masakazu Matsushita

Type:  Blog/Situation report

The activities on April 27th

We started again to carry out the same operation as the previous day, and tried to make (B), (C), and (D) ranked material to attain (A) rank condition as much as we possibly could.

As the (A) ranked materials gradually increased, we began to check those materials with reference to “The List of Antiquarian Book for Miyagi Prefectural Agricultural High School Library” and ‘The List of Japanese and Chinese antiquarian Book for Miyagi Prefectural Agricultural High School” which Mr.Goto had offered us, and grasped the number of rescued books.

Simultaneously, so as to confirm the effects of the deodorising operation, we chose some books bound in the Japanese style as samples and carried out the 3 patterns operations as follows;

1. Washing every page one by one after dismantling

2. Washing the whole books without dismantling

3. Leaving untreated

It must be remembered that this operation was a simple washing method for emergency, and not the usual method for conservation at all.

The rescue process of pattern 1 was as follows; First of all, before unfastening the bound strings, we took photos for every pages in order to avoid confusion, and then undid the knots, and separated into a piece paper (the binding strings were separately preserved). The non-woven fabric on the support medium was moisturised by spraying water, and was wiped with a dried towel, and then reversed documents were put on it and its creases spread out by brush.

At that time, we had to watch out if the document was too wet, as it would be hard to spread out. After finishing this operation, another non-woven fabric was laid upon it, and a soaked pallet was passed over the fabric, and then the dirt was washed away. This operation had to be repeated two or three times until the mud was completely removed. As the document was kept between the fabrics, treated with a speed-dry towel, and moisture was soaked up by the absorbent sponge. The upper fabric was removed from the document, and it was naturally dried on the stand. At that time, in order to dry them speedily, we used the electric fan.

As for the rescue process of the pattern 2, firstly, we filled a container box with water and put the old books into water as they were, and then lightly pushing and washing it in water. After confirming that the dirt was washed away, the book was taken from the water and the water was absorbed by towel or absorbent towel. The paper towel was put into one of the pages, and whole book was also wrapped in the paper towel, and then, water was gradually absorbed into the paper towel by pressing our weight on them. We repeated this operation several times.

After passing the memo about the upcoming operation to Mr.Yonemura, we left the Tohoku University of Arts & Design at 4:30pm.


We appreciate the participants of Miyagi Prefectural Agricultural High School, who engaged in the operation and the members of the Miyagi Network and Yamagata Network, who coordinated with the institutions concerned and managed the rescue materials. Also, we are grateful to Mr.Yonemura of the Tohoku University of Arts & design and the students of his seminar who offered us the space for the operation and cooperated with our activities. Finally, we are praying for the reconstruction of the Miyagi Prefectural Agricultural High School as soon as possible.

NB: The photos are all from the homepage of the Network for Historical Materials.

foto 1.jpg
1.taking photo by digital camera

2.undoing the knots

3.separating a piece of paper

4.moisturising the non-woven fabric

5.putting a document on the fabric

6.covering fabric upon a document

7.passing pallet over the fabric

8.soaking up by the sponge

9.naturally dried on the stand

10.putting books into the water

11.roughly absorbed by the speed dry towel

12.putting a paper towel into one of the pages
Filed under Report

Reported by Masakazu Matsushita, member of the Network for Historical Materials 

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