How To Handle Old Books: A blog about how to handle and store books

Old books are rare and valuable. You will need to take good care of them at all times. The main reason why these books are so valuable is that they cannot be replaced. Hence, you should be extra careful not to cause any damages to them. The value of old books can be preserved by properly handling them as well. From this article, we will be sharing some tips with you on how to handle and store rare books.

How to handle rare books

As the first thing, let’s take a look at the steps on how to handle rare books. Regardless of the number of books you have, you need to adhere to these tips.

Wash your hands before you deal with them

Make sure your hands are clean before handling any ancient books. Old books’ pages and covers may be damaged by oils and grime on your hands. Before touching any ancient books, fully wash your hands with soap and water or sanitizer.

Learn how to hold the books carefully

Holding a book firmly and evenly is important while doing so. The spine should not be bent or twisted as this might harm the binding. Larger books should be handled with two hands, and the spine and covers should be supported to avoid damage.

Use book supports

Due to incorrect storage, old books with delicate bindings may twist or bend. Use book supports while reading or storing old books to avoid this. Foam or other materials may be used to create book supports, which provide even support for the spine and covers of the book.

Keep the books organized

Old books must be stored properly to remain in excellent shape. Avoid keeping books in moist or humid areas since doing so might result in the growth of moulds or mildew on the pages. Books should be kept out of direct sunlight in a dry, cold environment. Avoid packing books too firmly to prevent warping or bending.

Use safety covers

Consider using protective covers if you wish to preserve the condition of your vintage books. Rare book seller – Shapero noted that book covers and dust jackets may shield a book from sunlight, grime, and other elements. Moreover, acid-free covers may aid in preventing acid damage, which can cause pages to become brittle and yellow.

Hold the books vertically

Be cautious to keep books upright when putting them on a shelf. As a result, the spine won’t bend or warp. The spine and covers of your books might be harmed if they are stacked too high or too firmly.

Never apply sellotape or glue to books

Refrain from using tape or glue to repair any loose or broken pages or covers. These substances could be challenging to remove afterwards and may result in further harm to the book. Instead, seek assistance from a qualified book conservator or restorer.

Keep beverages and food away from books

A major no-no is consuming food or beverages near books. Food stains are very hard to remove, spills and crumbs may permanently harm the pages. Always keep food and beverages away from your ancient books.

Avoid subjecting books to very high temperatures

Old books may be harmed by extreme temperatures. Avoid placing books in direct sunlight or other heat-producing environments. Cold temperatures may also harm books, so avoid keeping them in garages or other unheated spaces.

Instead of writing in books, use bookplates

Instead of writing in your books to identify them, think about using bookplates. Writing inside of books may ruin the pages and covers and lower their value. Bookplates are readily removed and won’t harm the book in any way.

How to store old books

Now you know how to handle old books. Let’s also take a look at few tips on how to store old books. Then you can provide maximum protection to old books you have.

Find the right place to store your old books

Finding the ideal storage location is the first and most important guideline of rare book storage. A spot that is dry, cool, and away from direct sunshine is good. Rare books should not be kept in basements, attics, or garages because of the risk of temperature and humidity changes. Since they maintain a constant temperature and humidity level, climate-controlled spaces like libraries or bedrooms become the finest storage sites for rare books.

Make sure that you don’t expose the books to direct sunlight

Avoid exposing the books to direct sunlight, which may cause fading, yellowing, and brittleness in rare volumes. Keep the books away from windows and other natural light sources to safeguard them. If the room has windows, cover them with curtains or drapes to block off direct sunlight.

However, you should also refrain from storing the old books in a dark room. That’s because it can create a favorable situation for the growth of mold. This will eventually lead you to bigger problems in terms of preserving the old and rare books that you have.

Use bookshelves to hold your old books

Due to their appropriate support and protection, bookshelves are the ideal option for storing rare books. Verify that the bookcases are stable and have adequate room for the books. Hardwood bookshelves are preferred over metal ones since they absorb moisture, which may cause corrosion of metal bookshelves. It’s crucial to check that the bookcases are not crammed since this might harm the books.

Final words

From this article, you could get a clear idea on how to handle and store old books. Follow the tips we shared, and you will end up with getting the maximum returns out of your old book collection.

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