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To:  Robert, Laurie, et al.,

I have been following these discussions on FEDLIB and have forwarded
Laurie's request for LC information to the appropriate LC director.  As
some of you know, Susan Frampton from the Smithsonian Libraries (also
co-chair of the FLICC Preservation & Binding Working Group) has
organized a meeting on this topic at the Smithsonian for late January.
I will be attending the meeting, as will representatives from the USPS
and one of the irradiation firms, LC, NARA, ARL, CLIR and several other
federal libraries.  FLICC's working group will be well represented.

Either Susan Frampton or I will report back to this list about what we
learned at that meeting, along with any action items for FLICC or other
parties.  It has been very helpful to have this community discussion and
raising of concerns to help focus the issues.  Please feel free to
continue the discussion as others of you have experiences or questions
to share.     -Susan

Susan M. Tarr, Executive Director
Federal Library and Information Center Committee
The Library of Congress
Washington, DC  20540-4935
Tel. 202-707-4800/01  Fax 202-707-4818
Email:  [log in to unmask]

>>> Laurie Stackpole <[log in to unmask]> 01/11 10:02 AM >>>
Can someone tell us what the Library of Congress is doing to address
this
problem, which must be of major concern there given the amount of
material
they receive through the mail?  Federal librarians need to unify and
present
a united front in order to get some changes made to existing
mail-handling
policy.  Having LC in the lead would help us make our case, so can we
hear
what the thinking is there from any LC people on the List?

In the wake of the hazmat emergency at DOC last evening, resulting
from
toxic fumes from irradiated shrink wrap, I am concerned that our
staffs, as
well as our collections, are in jeopardy.  FLICC/FELINK: If you have
not
already done so, how about forming an emergency task force to address
this
issue?  I'll volunteer.

Laurie Stackpole
Naval Research Laboratory

-----Original Message-----
From: FEDLIB: Federal Librarians Discussion List
[mailto:[log in to unmask]]On Behalf Of Mohrman, Robert J WRAMC-Wash DC
Sent: Thursday, January 10, 2002 3:41 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Irradiation of the mail: damage to journal issues


I'd like to ask if anyone in the Federal Library world is addressing
the
issue of the damage that
irradiation of mail does to print products.  The mail we receive here
at the
Walter Reed Army
Medical Center is being irradiated, and while I understand the
rationale for
doing it, it is very
damaging to a paper product.  Envelopes and their contents become very
brittle; the plastic windows
in envelopes are shriveled, stuck to the contents of the envelope, or
vanish
entirely.  Self-adhesive
labels fall off the envelopes.   The effect on white paper is quite
pronounced:  it is visibly yellowed,
as if exposed to sunlight for a very long period of time.

What distresses me most is that this is being done to library materials
as
well, and the same damage
is evident.  The glue in the binding of one journal issue I looked at
today
is almost entirely melted
away, and once again, the paper is brittle.  The ink from the bar codes
on
the outside of two books
that were mailed back to us by a patron had disappeared entirely (I
didn't
notice any real damage
to the pages, but who knows).

I'm not sure who to complain to about this.  We are paying a lot of
money
for our print subscriptions,
which we bind when volumes are complete, theoretically for posterity.
With
the damage that this
prophylactic irradiation is doing to our journals, we need to
seriously
reconsider this time-honored
practice of archiving information.  I'm also concerned about mailing
books
for interlibrary loan; what
kind of damage is this causing, and who will be ultimately
responsible?
I've done some quick and
dirty searches of the Internet using Google, but I haven't come across
anything on this subject.  The
US Postal Service web site discusses irradiation of the mail, but they
don't
address this issue, either.

Comments?

Robert Mohrman
Acting Chief, Medical Library
Walter Reed Army Medical Center (WRAMC)
6900 Georgia Ave NW
Washington DC 20307-5001
(202)782-6547; fax (202)782-6803
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