The November 27, 2018 Preservation Interest Group meeting on enclosures and setting up a work station was held at the University at Albany Preservation Lab. Alas, a wintry mix led to a number of cancelations, but the meeting was attended by 9 hearty and enthusiastic souls representing 6 Capital District institutions.
Facilitators Ann C. Kearney and Karen E. Kiorpes, both from the University at Albany, showed us various types of boxes, folders and sleeves suitable for a variety of fragile, unusual, or oft-handled materials. They also showed us the recommended tools for a basic work station and demonstrated their CoLibri book covering system.
The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, January 22, 2019, 9:30 - 11:00 am at CDLC. The tentative topic is disaster planning, which will be a good complement to the disaster recovery workshop University at Albany is planning for Spring 2019.
Karen Kiorpes started the meeting with an overview of enclosures. An outline of her remarks are in the first document in the "Meeting Handouts" box below.
Enclosures protect material from dust, which often has organic matter in it. This organic mater attracts bugs and mold, so enclosures can protect against those as well. They also reduce damage caused by temperature changes in the environment. Dense cardboard is best defense against fire, but even corrugated board is better than plastic. Plastic will melt and let off toxins.
There is a wide variety of enclosures available. Ask vendors for catalogs. They can be much more useful than vendor web sites when you are not quite sure what you are looking for. Some catalogs also include tips for using the materials. Many vendors will also send you samples. Good to get a sample or buy the smallest quantity available the firs time you use an item so you can see how it will work for you. Certain information, like grain direction, can not be gleaned from the catalog. Gaylord has New York State pricing and free shipping for non-profit institutions in New York State. Telephone them to get this pricing.
Use qualified vendors, not big box stores. The term "archival" on a product is meaningless. It is a loose term with no standards applied to it.
Think about what is practical for your collection when purchasing or making enclosures. For example, paper enclosures with windows can be more expensive, but you can see through the window and can write on the enclosure, so can be the best option for fragile items or items that are handled a lot. Columbia University created an enclosure using two boards and a tie for books in open stacks to save space and money. But not practical for open stacks because difficult for patrons to access the material. They would untie the item and leave the boards and ties on the shelf.
Start by looking at premade enclosures. it is easier to budget for because you know the exact price, and there is little labor involved. UAlbany makes custom boxes and folders for unusually shaped items and for sets of items that need to be kept together (e.g. CD with booklet). When they create custom-flap enclosures, they glue directions on the enclosure so people will know how to close it. They recommend "shaving" the furry part of the velcro with scissors and using a dot of glue on the velcro dots when using these for enclosures because the self-adhesive wears off. They use grommets with ties rather than velcro dots for the outside of boxes because it is sturdier.
When created custom enclosures, make them about 1/16" larger than the item it is housing. Measure often while folding to get best fit. Do not want too tight, but tight enough that item doesn't move around in enclosure.
Tour of University at Albany Preservation Lab Workstation
The Preservation Lab in Action
Basic tools needed for a preservation workstation.
Using the CoLibri system to put a protective cover on a book.
PVA adhesive for making boxes.
Cornerounder for making custom boxes.