Book Care and Handling
Most of you will handle books
or periodicals as part of your job at Murphy Library.
Part of all of our jobs is book preservation.
This not only applies to your work in the library, but
also to textbooks and books in your home library.
Books deteriorate just sitting on the
shelf. The paper on
which they are printed is acidic which destroys the cellulose
fiber from which paper is made.
However, most damage to books occurs when we handle them.
We can slow the process of deterioration by doing the
- Wash your hands before handling books.
- Handle books gently.
- Use a clean work surface.
- Protect books from water.
- Avoid forcing books to lie open more
than they can easily do.
- Support the book cover when
- Use caution when inserting or applying
security strips, being careful so as not force them into the
- Remove books from a shelf by grasping
it firmly by the spine.
- Shelf books upright and supported by
other books or a bookend.
Leaning books can cause the book to become distorted.
- Whenever possible, return books inside
the library rather than using the book drop.
- Turn off stack lights when no one is
using the aisle.
Light speeds the aging process of paper causing brittleness
- Don’t eat or drink while handling or
reading a book. Food
and drink can stain and destroy books and also attracts
- Don’t use books as a writing surface.
- Don’t bend or dog ear pages.
- Avoid using a highlighter in books.
- Never use paper clips that crimp the
pages, cause tears, and leave rust marks and holes.
- Don’t use “post it” adhesive notes
that can leave a residue.
- Never use rubber bands that bend and
rip pages as well as leave an acidic residue that causes the
paper to deteriorate.
- Never use staples that rust and make
holes in the pages.
- Don’t put an open book down on its
face while open. It
can break the spine.
- Never press an open book down hard on
photocopier glass for a good image as this breaks the spine
and loosens the pages.