Workers at Colorado State University’s Morgan Library today completed boxing an estimated 500,000 books, monographs and bound journals damaged in the July 28 flood.
Document recovery experts on campus said that about 60,000 to 70,000 boxes have been packed since the removal job began Aug. 4. All but 5,000 boxes have been shipped via refrigerated truck to freezer storage in Wyoming.
The remaining 5,000 packed boxes are at the library and await to be loaded onto trucks. Liquid nitrogen will be pumped into the trucks to drop the temperature to minus 40 degrees so the books are frozen before they even arrive at the freezer storage facilities. Workers plan to finish loading the books Thursday morning.
Freezing the books stops the development of mold and mildew and other damage that may incur as a result of extensive water exposure, said Tommy Stanley, president of Disaster Recovery Services. The company, based in Fort Worth, Texas, is spearheading efforts to remove and restore the library’s damaged volumes.
"We are very pleased with the team effort that has been made to finish this phase of the project," Stanley said. "Our company has brought the very best people here to assure the restoration process is executed efficiently and properly."
Some of the books have already been shipped to freezer space in Fort Worth, where they will ultimately undergo a restoration process known as freeze-drying. This process involves putting the books into a pressurized vacuum chamber and converting ice on the books into gas, thus removing the water from the books. Stanley estimates that it will take several weeks for all of the books to be transferred to Fort Worth so they may be prepared for freeze- drying.