Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Handling of Books

This is another segment of a series of helpful hints and tips on collecting and caring for your books.

Handling of Books

The repeated incorrect handling of a book can quickly transform a new book into a worn or even an unusable one. Proper handling in a stable, cool, clean, non-humid environment, can prolong its life.

Many people shelve their books in closed glass cases away from brightly lit windows or damp exterior walls to minimize the amount of dust and grime that will accumulate.

How we handle and use a book contributes to its longevity. If a book will not lay flat, do not use force to open further. The covers should always be supported when the book is open.

Many books are damaged by the habit of pulling the books off the shelf with the head cap or the top of the spine. It is a much better practice to push the two adjoining books inward and remove the book by grasping the spine.

Place similar sized books, next to each other on the shelf vertically, packing them neither too loosely or tightly. This will help to prevent warping of a tall book next to a short book.

The use of paper clips and marking pens to make notations should be discouraged since clips will rust or crimp the pages and pens often bleed through the pages, obscuring text. The folding down of page corners is also damaging as it will often cause the page corner to break off over time.

The practice of using rubber bands or string to tie-up a book should be avoided because both will cut into brittle pages and damage fragile covers. A flat, soft ribbon (such as cotton twill tape), can be used to tie up the books as an immediate and temporary solution.

Books can be wrapped in paper or polyester jackets to keep the fragments and dirt from transferring to hands, adjoining books and the rest of the pages.

Reference THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS Preservation