Freeze-dried books return to Iowa - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Freeze-dried books return to Iowa


by Bryan Goettel

CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) -- From Texas...and back again.

"We haven't seen the books since they were packed in the truck in June so this is really great to be able to get 'em back into our fold," says Nancy Kraft, the head of the University of Iowa's preservation department.

One load arrived at the University of Iowa this morning. Full of flood damaged materials from the Johnson County Historical Society as well as the Czech and Slovach and African-American museums in Cedar Rapids. Everything in the load was freeze-dried in Texas.

"We've been waiting for this obviously since they were sent away," says Leigh Ann Randak, curator of the Johnson County Historical Society.

Based on what she's seen so far, she's optimistic.

"We haven't looked at all of 'em obviously," Randak says,  "But the ones that have been opened up actually look a lot better than I thought they might."

It's now a lab inside the University of Iowa library where workers will likely spend the next few years trying to restore as many materials as possible. The hope is then that most of the items can be returned to their old home.

I really like tedious work so this is perfect for me," says collections recovery technician Caitlin Moore.

Moore's job is to restore as many materials as possible.

She says one magazine alone can take eight hours.

These technicians are literally preserving page at a time.

"It's nice to know you're saving things, I mean, especially after a disaster like this," says Moore. 

"This is what I was getting ready for, the big one," says Kraft.

Thanks to a few helping hands, thousands of items once thought to be headed to the trash, will be treasures once again.

Online Reporter: Bryan Goettel


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