Books in the news
Books are flood victims too
- Published: 10/01/2012 at 10:21 AM
- Online news:
Many collections of rare books and magazines have been damaged or destroyed by the floods, but some are being saved.
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The receding floods have left a muddy, mouldy mess, exactly what you don’t want if you are a collector of rare, historically important books and magazines. That is the problem facing famed writer Suchart Sawatsri whose book collection was largely submerged together with his Pathum Thani home.
Technology exists to restore flood-damaged books, but it is expensive and not yet available in Thailand. Germany is a leader in book restoration and there is an interesting feature in today’s Bangkok Post on how the local Goethe-Institut is helping book collectors develop the expertise to save at least some of their most valuable items. You can read the full feature here: http://bit.ly/wLo2gR
Below is an excerpt from the feature which describes a workshop held by the institution demonstrating the book restoration process.
Help is underway for literature damaged in recent flooding
Almost all the books in a ground floor room at Suchart Sawatsri’s house in Pathum Thani are damaged. Those on the top shelf weren’t submerged in water but are still likely to be covered in mould.
The workshop introduced first-aid treatment to rescue the wet books. Books soaked in the water are largely damaged by mould. Those that are not submerged must be checked inside out for mould and spores.
One of the book rescue team members demonstrates the cleaning process. Photos courtesy of Bangkok Art and Culture Centre (BACC)
Once a wet book is taken out of the water, it must be thoroughly cleaned (with tools including brush, sponge and alcohol) with water before squeezing water out of the book as much as possible and re-shaping it to its original form by hand. Then each wet, cleaned book should be kept separately in a freezing room at a temperature lower than -10 degrees Celsius, or, better, -20 degrees Celsius. The process helps maintain its as-it-is condition, preventing it from decaying further by fungus and bacteria from the water.
The last step is to put the frozen books in a deep-freezer, in which water is drained out and vapourises in the sublimation process, without damaging the papers.
The process, however, entails high cost and it's not possible to rescue all the books, said Dr Norbert Spitz (director of the Goethe-Institut in Bangkok), so the book owner should focus on irreplaceable cultural ones.
Suchart knew too well that not all his books could be rescued. ''Probably god knows Thais don't read a lot [so the flood took mountains of books away],'' he said, laughing sarcastically at his own plight. He had let go most of the books, trying to save only those irreplaceable.
Days afterwards, Suchart received a freezer from a donor. But the electricity bill became his burden. And as he didn't want to wait that long for the deep-freezing process, either in Thailand or in Germany, Suchart decided to rescue his books in his own way, manually air-drying them at home.
recede – to move back; to move further away into the distance; subside ลดลง, ถอยหลัง
mould – a fine soft green, grey or black substance like fur that grows on old food or on objects that are left in warm wet air รา, เชื้อรา
collector – a person who collects things, either as a hobby or as a job นักสะสม
rare – not often seen or found หาได้ยาก
famed – famous ซึ่งมีชื่อเสียง
submerged – under water จมน้ำ อยู่ใต้น้ำ
restore – to bring back to good condition ฟื้นฟูสภาพ
expertise – a high level of knowledge or skill ทักษะความรู้, ความคิดเห็นของผู้เชี่ยวชาญ
valuable – worth a lot of money มีค่า
excerpt – a part of a longer story, speech, song, text, etc. บทคัดย่อ
demonstrate – to show something and explain how it works สาธิต
process – a series of actions that you take in order to achieve a result แนวทางปฏิบัติ, กระบวน, วิธีการ
literature – pieces of writing or printed information on a particular subject งานประพันธ์, งานวรรณกรรม, งานเขียน
first-aid – simple medical treatment that is given to somebody before a doctor comes or before the person can be taken to a hospital, in this case, however, it is treatment for damaged books การปฐมพยาบาล
treatment – the process of providing care การรักษา
rescue – to save a person, animal thing from a dangerous or unpleasant situation ช่วย(ชีวิต)
soaked – very wet เปียกโชก
spore – one of the very small cells that are produced by some plants and that develop into new plants เซลล์สืบพันธุ์ของพืชหรือสัตว์ประเภทโปรโตซัว, สปอร์
sponge – a natural or artificial material full of small holes that is used for taking in liquid and cleaning things ฟองน้ำ
squeeze – to press something firmly, especially with your hands คั้น, บีบ
original – existing at the beginning of a particular period, process or activity เดิม
form – the particular way something is, seems, looks or is presented; a type or variety of something รูปแบบ, รูปทรง
separate – kept apart แยก
maintain – to keep รักษา, คงอยู่
condition – the physical state of a person, animal, thing or place สภาพ
decay – the process or result of being destroyed by natural causes or by not being cared for การเน่าเปื่อย
fungus– any plant without leaves, flowers or green colouring, usually growing on other plants or on decaying matter เชื้อรา
drain – to cause water or fluid to flow out ระบายออก
vapourise – to turn into gas; to make something turn into gas กลายเป็นไอ
sublimation process – the change of a substance from the solid phase to the gas phase without passing through a liquid phase
irreplaceable – too valuable or special to be replaced ไม่สามารถแทนที่กันได้
sarcastically – critical in a way that makes someone or something seem foolish, often by saying the opposite of what you mean อย่างเสียดสี
plight - an unpleasant condition, especially a serious, sad or difficult one สภาพเลวร้าย
donor – a person who gives money or goods to an organisation or person ผู้บริจาค
burden – a serious or difficult responsibility that you have to deal with ภาระ
manually – by hand ด้วยมือ
entail – to involve something that cannot be avoided นำมา, พัวพัน
Related search: flood-damaged books
About the author
- Writer: Terry Fredrickson
Position: Education Marketing and Support Manager