Paper impermanence as a consequence of arid-hydrolysis resulting from poor paper manufacture and storage in selected libraries and the National archives in Kenya
Mwangi, Keziah Muthoni
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The study aimed at establishing: the level of acidity in library and archives paper-based materials; measure being taken to curb paper deterioration resulting from acidity; and the environmental control measures taken, in selected libraries and the Kenya National Archives. The levels of acidity of some locally manufactured papers before they are printed on were also investigated. Acidity tests on books by use of universal indicator were Centre Library. The International Centre for Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) library, MacMillan Memorial Library and the Kenya National Archives. The research revealed that the levels of acidity in most materials are very high (an average PH of 2.4) an indication that the books are threatened by acid hydrolysis reactions on cellulose molecules in paper. Actually, 45.4 percent of all the materials tested were found to be brittle, while 40.6 percent have yellowed. This shows that 86percent of the materials held in the selected libraries and the archives are in danger of becoming brittle and unusable in the near future. The study found out that nothing is being done to save this unfortunate situation in the librarians were not aware of the implications of presence of acid in paper -based materials. The archivists knew the problem. The Kenya National Archives takes some measures to curb acid hydrolysis though they are not carried out satisfactorily. In addition, the environmental factors that increase the acidity level of paper and those that activate the rate of chemical reactions namely; temperature, humidity, air pollution and light, are not well taken care of in the libraries. A credit goes to the Kenya National Archives which has taken some measures though mainly in the records repositories. Laboratory tests on the levels of acidity on unprinted papers used the hot extraction method. The results indicated high levels of acidity in the locally manufactured papers especially the newsprint brand. A number of recommendations relating to deacidification. Microfilming, replacements, and photocopying of the affected materials were given. Base standards of paper meant for permanent records that advocate for aid-free paper were also recommended.