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Mass de-acidification system for the National Library of South Africa

Date Released: Thu, 4 December 2008 12:16 +0200

In terms of the National Library of South Africa Act the NLSA acts as the national preservation library which also provides conservation services on a national basis.

The significant part that acidity plays in the rapid deterioration of paper has long been recognized. Over time acids cause paper to become brittle resulting in loss of valuable heritage resources. The Library’s book collection contains more than 500 000 original South African titles. It is estimated that as much as 60% (300 000) are in danger of future loss due to paper deterioration.

Installation of the system is expected to take place in the next six to nine months. The NLSA is considering offering de-acidification services to other cultural institutions and clients in South and Southern Africa.

Read more about the actual process at the "Save the Written Word" project page, Library of Congress. This picure shows assessment of acidity or alkalinity using a pH pen [Library of Congress]