5 Tips to Treat Your Books Better

Got books? Maybe you’re a collector, maybe you’re a librarian, but no matter how or why you acquire books, you should know there’s a right way, and a wrong way, to shelve and handle them to keep them in perfect reading condition.

The Library of Congress offers these recommendations:

  • Clean hands, always!
  • Keep books upright, or lying flat; leaning them to one side will eventually break the spine.
  • Remove books from a shelf by gripping the spine on both sides, at the middle of the book; over time, pulling at the top of the spine damages the binding.
  • Keep books away from direct sunlight, heating/cooling vents, and high humidity; don’t forget to dust them, too.
  • Shelve books of similar size together; the covers of neighboring books will help support each other.

The LOC has additional advice on restoration and preservation on its website: http://www.loc.gov/preservation/care/index.html Your storage professionals here at Systematics, Inc., can also provide proper shelving and storage information.


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