Treat with care
Books printed after the mid-nineteenth century are typically printed on mechanical ground wood pulp paper, which has a high acidic content and can quickly become discolored and brittle; therefore, all books should be handled and stored with care to maintain their good condition.
Storing your rare books
Large, heavy folio-size books should be stored flat; other books should be kept upright at 90u00b0 to the shelf’s surface; do not pack the books in too tightly or the covers will be damaged when they are removed from the shelf.
Temperature and humidity
The temperature and humidity in a book storage room are critical; if the room is too hot and dry, leather bindings can dry out and crack; it is also critical to avoid storing books in damp conditions to prevent fungi spores (mould and mildew) from blooming on them.
If you are concerned about the conditions in which your books are stored, you can measure them with a portable electric thermohygrometer. The room temperature should be as close to 16u00b0C to 19u00b0C (60-66u00b0F) as possible.
Cleaning your books
Books can attract pests such as mice and insects such as bookworms, and dust can be a food source for mould and mildew, leading to an infestation. To clean rare books, remove the book from the shelf. Carefully brush off the dust with a soft paint brush.
Don’t repair books yourself
If you buy a rare book, it may be tempting to try to repair it yourself. Sellotape, Post-It notes, and household adhesives should not be used to mark or repair pages or bindings, and elastic bands should not be used to keep the book together if the covers or boards are loose.
Specialist advice for Britain and Ireland
Bookbinders can also provide archival-standard acid-free storage boxes for loose material, according to the Conservation Register, which is an online resource for finding a local conservator in the UK and Ireland.
Advice from NLS
Conservation of books and paper items can be a time-consuming, costly process that may end up costing more than the book itself; whatever you decide, it’s better to leave the book alone in its damaged state than to attempt a botched, unsympathetic repair.
How do you store rare books?
Rare books should be stored vertically on a shelf, snug (but not too snug) against other books of similar size or a book end; they should never be tipped diagonally. If a book is too large for a shelf, it can also be laid down horizontally.
What temperature should books be stored at?
The ideal temperature for books is 60u201370 degrees Fahrenheit, so keeping them in a room with moderate temperatures that don’t fluctuate too much is the best way to keep them from molding, cracking, or bending.
How do you store 100 year old books?
Keeping Books Safe
- Shelving u2014 Store small- to medium-sized books upright (vertically).
- Handling u2014 Handle books gently to avoid separating covers and spine pieces from the binding.
- Making Copies u2014 Do not place books face down on a photocopier or scanner.
What is the proper way to store old books?
Book Storage Done Right
- A cool (room temperature or below), relatively dry (about 35% relative humidity), clean, and stable environment (avoid attics, basements, and other locations with a high risk of leaks and environmental extremes)
- Minimal exposure to all types of light
- no direct or intense light.
Is cold bad for books?
Keep Books Out of Extremes of Temperature The rule of thumb is to keep books where you’d be comfortable, which means garages, storage sheds, attics, and basements are usually bad places to keep books because both heat and cold can damage them.
What temperature is bad for books?
Books should be kept away from radiators and in a room that is between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit (16 and 21 degrees Celsius), with air conditioners and fans as needed to keep the temperature down.
Is Cold good for books?
Most people would be uncomfortable in a cold, dark, damp basement or a hot, dry attic, and both of these areas would be poor storage environments for books.
Is it OK to store books in a garage?
A pest-free environment, such as an attic or a garage, is ideal for storing books, as long as those spaces aren’t subjected to extreme temperature changes and are well ventilated. Never store books in a humid environment; the mold that grows in damp environments will damage them, as well as any other paper-based objects.
How do you protect books from insects?
You can sprinkle pepper or insect powder near your books, but DO NOT SPRINKLE ANYTHING ON THE BOOKS. You place it near the books, and the smell deters pests from eating your old books, just like cotton balls.
How should you handle books to retain in good condition?
According to a Museum, here’s how to keep your books in good shape.
- Avoid direct sunlight.
- Check the temperature.
- Think about air quality.
- Don’t pick up a book by the spine.
- Handle with gloves.
- Make a digital copy.
How do you protect an autographed book?
Place archival tissue paper between each page to protect it in the event that the book is exposed to moisture and the ink bleeds onto the other pages. The ink has set after all these years, but if the book is exposed to high humidity or moisture of any kind, the ink can run and bleed.
How do you preserve first edition books?
10 Ways to Keep First Edition Rare Books Safe
- Before handling a book, carefully inspect it.
- Do not open it more than 90 degrees.
- Only touch individual leaves by their edges.
- Do not pull directly on the book’s spine when removing it from a shelf.
- Make sure books are well supported on a shelf.
Can you store books in vacuum bags?
Instead of vacuuming comic books, archived magazines, and other multipage documents, simply seal the bag, leaving a small amount of air inside. For best results, seal – not vacuum – your comics.
How do you preserve books in the 1800s?
Keep the books away from heat sources such as air vents, as dry heat can crack leather spines and make book glue brittle. Also, keep them away from potential water sources such as A/C units, pipes, and leaky old windows.