“In this case, it has to be done,” he told The Herald-Times. “Otherwise, we won’t be able to keep them much longer.”
Some of the more damaged books are laid out on the shelves, and Weiler will be placing those in boxes for protection. Possibly they can be further restored at a later date.
“I think I might find some way to wrap them up in the plastic,” he said, touching the edge of a book that no longer has a binding. “A sleeve of some sort — I’ll mess around with it a little.”
County recorder Jim Fielder picked up one book and bits of paper flaked out. In the rooms that previously held the records, there are bits of paper and leather on the floor, remnants of what the rooms used to contain.
Monroe County Commissioners included the project in their $2 million general obligation bond for this year, and some of that money will likely go toward a dehumidifier, said Angie Chalfant, commissioners’ administrator. Some money also is designated to repair the basement of North Showers, which caused the archival space to experience some flooding last year. Damage to the floor has been repaired.
The recorder’s and clerk’s offices have worked to get grants for both the space and digitization of records, working with both the Monroe County History Center and IU’s Lilly Library to develop the room.
The plan is some day to have a space similar to the library in the history center, which is home to the first commissioners’ records, land deed records and other assorted books. Here, residents can view the books.
Nicole Bieganski, research library manager at the center, said the center is working to preserve some of the county books that are in its possession. These books have been wrapped in Tyvek, which is made of polyethelene fibers and is waterproof but also difficult to tear, preserving the covers.