Today two engineers from Novatron Scientific are visiting the Collection Care unit in Deansgate to calibrate our environmental monitors.
The regular maintenance of our environmental control system is essential to the well-being of our collections. The system’s sensors must be therefore recalibrated periodically in order to ensure accuracy of reading.
Over fifty data loggers are positioned all over the John Rylands Library, with an average of 10 within the new stores and reading room, and 40 in the original building, positioned strategically between the 1920s extension and the original Victorian areas.
Those monitors accurately measure and monitor the temperature and humidity of all the areas of the building containing collections. Real time data is seamlessly transferred through a transmitter and stored to a local PC in the Collection Care studio.
The reason of monitoring the environment is that unsuitable environmental conditions can be damaging to books and costly to the library. By monitoring environmental conditions, problems can be identified and dealt with through a variety of environmental controls.
Commonly used bands for relative humidity are 40%–60% or 45%–65%. RH should not exceed 65% as mould, mildew and pests are more likely to occur. Temperature is directly linked to RH and so can aggravate damage by that means. An increase in temperature also increases the rate of degradation in objects. Recommended guidelines for temperature are of around 17–21º C. Stores can be kept at lower temperatures to slow down degradation of objects (say around 12–15º C).
It is important to maintain stable temperatures rather than allow them to fluctuate, as this causes greater damage to the collections.