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Andrew HeiskellAndrew Heiskell
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microfilm, you have to deacidify, you have to use every trick. There's great hope about a new process that the Library of Congress has been working with. You put a thousand books in to a great tank, vacuum tank, then you insert a certain kind of gas--I don't know what it is--and it will deacidify the paper. It's extraordinary. You don't have to open the book. The book can stay absolutely closed tight, and yet it in three days it will be deacidified. I'm afraid the first tank blew up, though.


What other subjects do you want to cover on the Library?


Well the other important thing is that when we got so poor, and were so broken down, we ceased collecting, and we got the reputation. So nobody would think of us in terms of giving collections. They wouldn't because they knew we couldn't catalogue a collection. Cataloging is the main part of it, and cataloging is terribly expensive. Even cataloging regular books. The cost of getting a book on the shelf is twice to three times the cost of the book. Pretty horrifying thing. If you get a whole collection--like the Forzheimer Collection which we just got, which is valued at twenty-two million dollars. In this case they also gave us endowment so we were able to continue the cataloging they had all ready started. But if you don't have an endowment you've got that enormous expense.

Anyway we're in the collecting business. We just got a couple of collections. We're getting the Toscanini papers, which we're announcing in a couple of weeks. You know, all in all we're quite a

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