Monitoring temperature and humidity is essential in the storage and conservation of rare and valuable books. Data loggers help ensure that they are stored in the correct environmental conditions.
Temple Bookbinders, located in Headington, Oxford, bind, restore
and conserve books and also have a rare books shop on site. The
environmental conditions in which the books are kept, and to which
they are exposed, have a direct impact on the rate of degradation
of the materials which make them up. The company is using a
temp/RH logger in various locations around the building to help
assess the conditions, and to keep track of the impact of any
changes and improvements that are made to the surroundings.
For example, the logger has been used for a three month
placement in the safe where the most precious books are kept. In
this way the Company can ensure that the books on site are kept in
the best conditions possible.
By using the data logger, the Company aims to achieve a minimum
of very sudden changes in the temperature and humidity of the areas
in which the books are kept. Paper, leather and vellum are all
hygroscopic materials - so as the relative humidity of a room
changes they absorb or release water. This repeated movement can
cause damage, so the aim is to minimise how often it happens - and
when it does happen to endeavour to make the changes happen
gradually rather than suddenly. By looking at the readings from the
data logger, the Company can implement changes to make the
environmental conditions as consistent as is possible.
Clare Goulbourn is the paper conservator for the company and has
worked with Tinytags for a number of years. Clare comments,
"Tinytags are easy to use - both the hardware and the software. We are a relatively small company, so
installing expensive equipment to keep the temperature and humidity
within consistent values is not an option. But by using the data
logger we can make small but important changes to our setup - such
as shutting doors, storing books in the room with the most
consistent readings, and turning off specific heat sources."
Clare adds, "The customer service has always been excellent -
when I have contacted Gemini Data Loggers people have been friendly
and very quick to help."