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Subject: Freezers and freeze-drying facilities

Freezers and freeze-drying facilities

From: John F. Dean <jfd5>
Date: Wednesday, October 29, 2003
Sue Dunlap <sdunlap [at] wooster__edu> writes

>A group of five colleges in Ohio are wondering if there are any
>state-wide or consortial facilities in other states for freezing or
>freeze-drying books that have been in a disaster.

One of the New York State Coordinated grants sponsored by Cornell in
1989-90 involved the construction of a freezer facility capable of
accommodating between 10,000 and 15,000 volumes depending on size
and packing.  This facility became the center point for the Regional
Emergency Mutual Response Team approach to large-scale salvage and
recovery initially for the four major research libraries in the
immediate area.  The State University of New York at Binghamton, the
University of Rochester, and Syracuse University are all within a
two-hour driving distance from Cornell, so it was decided that they
would form the initial group for the purposes of the grant proposal.

The State University of New York at Binghamton contributes two staff
to the team, Syracuse University three staff, the University of
Rochester three staff, and Cornell University contributes seven
staff. Although the mutual aid team has not been called upon to
perform since the program began, it is anticipated that the
experience of working together at each of the member institutions
will enable a rapid and effective response to a major disaster.  The
freezer facility is, of course, available to any institution on a
cost-recovery basis and not just the members of the consortium.

One of the advantages of freezing is that some sorting of the
collection may be done in the freezer after the books are frozen but
before the books are freeze-dried.  This could involve, for example,
deciding not to proceed further with certain periodical titles that
might be available on microfilm or deciding that certain parts of
the collection are really not worth salvaging..  It also gives the
librarian or archivist the time to find money to pay for the
freeze-drying process, which is quite an expensive process.

The freezer facility is located in a stand-alone building adjacent
to the library's annex complex close to the main campus of the
University.  Access to it is via a main road and each of the Cornell
team has a key to the facility.  The freezer can hold approximately
10,000 books or around 900 cubic feet of documents.  While the
inside capacity of the freezer is 1,750 cubic feet, a significant
amount of space is occupied by the refrigeration equipment.  The
operating temperature of the freezer is minus 30 degrees centigrade,
which allows for quite rapid freezing.  The construction is fairly
simple and not too expensive.  Made from expandable insulated panels
with commercial compressors and refrigeration equipment, the
facility can be constructed within an existing building or---as is
Cornell's facility---on its own concrete pad.

John F. Dean
Preservation and Conservation Librarian
Department of Preservation and Collection Maintenance
B32 Olin Library
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853
Fax: 607-254-7493

                  Conservation DistList Instance 17:39
                Distributed: Wednesday, October 29, 2003
                       Message Id: cdl-17-39-003
Received on Wednesday, 29 October, 2003

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