What Is The Best Way To Take Care Of Old Books?


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Lucy Burroughs Profile
Lucy Burroughs answered

Old books often have a lot of monetary, sentimental and cultural value; they can be rare, or first editions, and may no longer be in print. If you have old books that belonged to a relative or that you have bought, you need to store them with care in order to minimise deterioration.

Things to Keep in Mind

Books come with all sorts of covers – leather, parchment, cloth, paper and wood and many old books are not strong because the adhesive has degenerated. In Victorian times, many books were made from poor quality materials, so these are particularly fragile now.

How to Clean and Dust Old Books

Dust books often with a clean soft bristle brush, working away from the spine. Clean pages the same way that you would documents, taking care not to put pressure on the spine. Make sure your hands are clean!

How to Store Old or Rare Books

- Keep all books away from strong light as this can cause fading of the cover and the pages.

- Make sure your old books aren't stored anywhere damp or cold (like a basement). Damp causes rapid deterioration, spotting on the pages, and mould.

- Storing books in boxes can stop them getting dusty, but it's also more likely to cause mould; a bookshelf is the best place, with space in between them to let the air circulate.

- If you're storing them somewhere that you don't go very often, like the attic, make sure there aren't any mice up there, as they have a tendency to nibble things that they shouldn't!

For more help on how to care for old books, see this video.

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