Here's how to save a wet book or paper

A recent mishap sent me scrambling for info on how to dry a wet book. Luckily, Syracuse University Libraries has a handy how-to guide demonstrated by their preservation department.

It's important to note that if it's a book with glossy pages, like a coffee table book, it may be better to put it in a freezer and let the ice sublimate. This will take much more time than air drying, but it may help reduce puckering and distortion.

Via Library of Congress:

For certain types of materials (see list below), immediate freezing is the only option available to prevent total loss.

What to freeze:
• Immediately freeze glossy (coated) papers and items with thinly applied soluble (bleeding) media to prepare for vacuum freeze drying.
• Freezing also recommended for leather, parchment, and rare books

Freezing in a household freezer is an option, but adjust to the coldest possible setting. Note: household freezers may not reach cold enough temperatures to prevent the formation of large ice crystals in the items, which can cause damage.

A freezer with a "frost-free" setting can, over months, dry out items ("freeze-drying"), which can be preferable to air drying.

Disaster recovery service providers can provide the best options when a large number of items are wet or when more advanced, industrial equipment is otherwise needed. Vendors can provide regular freezing followed by air drying, blast freezing (which helps minimize the formation of large ice crystals), freeze drying, and vacuum freeze drying.

Wet Book Rescue (YouTube / SULPreservation)