Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Tuesday's Tip - Use a Dehumidifier

Here you can see some of my prized genealogy books that were nearly ruined in the last year.

I thought my study felt damp, but DH couldn't seem to find a reason why. That is until he opened up the closet to take a peak in there. Seems the hot water heater is actually behind a panel in the study closet. I am not electrically intelligent, so I can't begin to tell you what was wrong with it, but for some reason it wouldn't not shut down when the water got hot. It kept heating. The result was the steam was venting out into the closet, and seeping into my study!

That steam sent so much water into the air that once it was fixed, we discovered thick mold on almost every book in the room! Papers were limp. (Thank goodness I had all of my records in archival sleeves, because those weren't affected at all! Take that as a plug to always use archival sleeves for your important records!)

I will tell you, the books are now all free from that nasty green fungi mold. And you might ask how I managed to save them?

Well, I came across a wonderful article on biblio.com (you can read it here). As you can tell from the article, denatured alcohol saved my precious books! I was so happy!!! (And I'm still doing the Happy Dance! Oh yeah...Go me...Oh yeah...Go me!)

I purchased a small dehumidifier after the water heater fiasco. And that has helped preserve my books as well. (You wouldn't believe how much moisture is removed just on a regular day, but when the humidity is up outside who would think it wouldn't get so high in here as well!) But it does. In the summer, I have a window air-conditioner that helps get some of the moisture out as well. So, I feel blessed to have a double action going on in here!

Make sure that the room that you are storing research books, or photo albums, or your precious research, is kept dry by use of a dehumidifier, or keep an oscillating fan going so that it blows across the books or research and prevents mold or mildew buildup. And check your books frequently so that if you should have this problem, you will catch it in time!

Do you have a passion for books? If so, you will want to read the article on biblio.com to protect them!

Now, I have a question for all of you? Do you use any kind of organization for your books? Do you group them by subject? By author? By genre? Dewey Decimal System? Let us know in the comments what kind of system, if any, you use?

I put my books on the shelf by genre, and then I alphabetize them. (Well, I have a pretty large collection of books, that seems to grow every few days! LOL) It helps me a lot when I'm doing research, as I can go immediately to any book I know.

Do you keep a log of the titles and authors of your books? Do you write down the names of friends or colleagues who borrow your books? There are some great forms to print online that will help you.
I haven't always kept a log. But I do now. It is on Goodreads.com . Which I absolutely love. Because there I not only have the books I read, but my input on them, and I can even look up the authors of present day writers and find out about them. It keeps me on track. And it helps me make a goal. This year, my goal was to read 52 books for 2017. It is only May, and I have already completed 37 of the 52! So I'm actually ahead of myself!

Do you have a favorite genre of book that you enjoy reading more than any other?

I don't. I just love to read to learn. I read a lot of biographies. I enjoy anything that can help me with genealogy! I enjoy some romance. I read Christian materials (I am a licensed minister in this state.). I am kind of odd, in that I enjoy reading travel guide books. And even more than that, I enjoy reading technical manuals. When I was married to my first husband, when he first went into the military, we had no money for books. We didn't have a car. So I couldn't get to a library, because public transportation didn't run in that direction. So I was without books to read! I reread the few I had brought with me to our tiny 2 room apartment. And when I was about to read those books for the 4th or 5th time, I started grabbing soup cans, and bean bags, and even macaroni and cheese boxes, just to find something, anything, to read. (I met an old cowboy in Texas; he had a whole library of westerns; I had a whole library of romance novels. We swapped books 4 or 5 at a time. He introduced me to Louis Lamour, Max Brand, Ron Hanson, Larry McMurtry, Dee Brown (amazing books on American Indian History, he wrote "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee". Broke my heart!), and of course the great Zane Grey! And so many others! I usually have any where from 2 to 4 books in various rooms of the house. The books don't leave those rooms, and I mark my place and read some more the next time I go into that room. DH thinks it's impossible to read 3 or 4 books at the same time. But I find it quite relaxing, and challenging!

Do you mark your place with a bookmark? Or do you turn down the corners of a page? (Shame on you if you do that! You weaken the fibers of the page doing that. Always use a bookmark. And if the book is written prior to 1965, be sure to use an acid-free book mark.)

Protect your precious books. Whether you have them in hard copy, or in digital format. (Back up your ebooks monthly!) And you'll have a library worthy of passing on when you are ready to do that.

Do you shop flea markets and garage sales for books? Do you shop in used book stores? I do all three. I was very lucky to find a first edition of 'Alice Through the Looking Glass' that I gave to my Mom one year for her birthday. (Alice in Wonderland was her favorite story!) you never know what you'll find.

Do you enjoy the smell of old books? That's the whole reason why I love to go and spend hours in a used book store! DH and I can go in a used book store and be lost for hours! We come out having spent $2-$300 almost every time!

Do you have a hobby you enjoy more than books? Let us hear from you!

Oh, and what book am I reading in the study this evening? The Writing Desk by Rachel Hauck. Excellent read so far!

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