Tips for Maintaining Your Book Collection

Jul 17

Not ready to give up your growing book collection? Besides investing in a quality bookshelf, there are several things you can do to ensure that your investment will last for decades, so your children can still enjoy them.

  • Determine if the book is made with acidic paper. There are deacidification sprays and interleaving sheets sold at hobby shops if you are concerned about the deteriorating quality of the paper of your books.
  • Place paperbacks in archival-quality storage. You can go the extra mile by investing in bags or covers specially made for protecting books.
  • Do not pile books on top of one another. Some book lovers will not have enough space to store everything, so they will cram everything if there is some tiny space left. Maybe it is time to buy a new shelf or move the books to another room so they do not get damaged.
  • Do not place books in areas where there is direct sunlight. Even paper can get damaged when exposed to ultraviolet rays. Place the bookshelf away from windows or invest in closed cabinets to protect it from the elements.
  • Do not place books near sources of heat. Books are made from flammable materials, so it is common sense not to place them in the kitchen, near electrical outlets, and any home appliance, gadget, or fixture that produces or emits heat.
  • Regulate the temperature and humidity around your book collection. High humidity and high temperatures can damage books over time. How do you determine if it is safe for your books? Try staying in the area for 10 minutes and see if you feel uncomfortable. The most acceptable range is at 35% relative humidity.
  • Books should not be stored in areas that are excessively dry or humid. This is just a follow-up of the previous tip. The components of the book can fall apart when exposed to humidity for a long period of time. Paperbacks for example, will become ideal homes for fungi. You can regulate humidity by installing a dehumidifier in the room.
  • Address musty smell in books. Maybe the paper used is acidic or the room is too humid. If you are concerned by the smell, you can install an air freshener near the books and seal the volume in a dry container for a few days.
  • Clean your shelves regularly. You can dust off shelves at least once a week with a duster, but thorough cleaning should be done at least once a year so you can assess the condition of your books.
  • Do not use paper clips, rubber bands, adhesive tapes, leather dressing, glue, and acidic inserts in your books. There are bookmarks made from acid-free paper you can use. Never ever fold the pages if you need to mark it.
  • Keep food and drinks away from your books. If you need to read while relaxing and enjoying your snack, you should at least keep your hands clean when handling the pages.
  • Expensive and rare books that have suffered some damage can be sent to a book restoration shop.
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