Caring for Your Book Collection

I recently began a job as a Library Assistant at the local library and I have learned so much from the head Librarian. Being a book lover my whole life and having a big enough collection to just about run a library myself, I was very eager to be given the tips below about caring for your book compilation.

– Do not smoke around them nor allow others to. This will cause them to stink horribly and to begin to turn yellow.

– Do not store your book around high levels of humidity. This allows the books to begin deteriorating. If you do, your books become a breeding ground for mold, mildew, insects and puckered pages.

– Avoid direct sunlight because the ultraviolet rays will cause cloth and leather to fade, especially near the spine. This is something you mainly have to worry about is you have old books or new ones that are deluxe or special editions. Though the sun will fade cardboard hardbacks if they are left near the sun without their cover.

– Do not use anything other than a normal paper bookmark to mark your place. Anything metal usually crimps the page or rusts and folding down the corners damages your books as well.

– Avoid marking in your books if you can. If you must, then take the extra time to find a highlighter that will not bleed.

– Examine books frequently for mold. It will often appear and little specks of white dust as it’s just forming. Around this stage they can normally be saved, especially hardbacks. Remove the dust cover from the book and spray the inside with Lysol. Now take a baby wipe and wipe down the spine of the book, stand it up to air dry. Once dry, put them back together. You should have stopped the growth.

– Put books the same size next to each other. This will prevent taller books from being warped over the top of a smaller one. This is something we follow in our local library. The smaller trade paperbacks have a section all their own and are not mixed with the bigger books.

– If a book will not open flat, do not use excessive force, as this will break the spine and cause wear.

– Do not place rubber bands around a book to tie it up. This will ruin the cover. Inside use a soft ribbon.

If you need to rebind a book, contact The Foundation of the American Institute for Conservation (FAIC). They have a list of professionals and can help you find one nearest to your home. Visit them at:

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