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Chapter 6: Preservation of Library Materials

Preservation of library material is always an important consideration. While working in the Library, you will become aware of some of the factors that affect preservation. Some of the most obvious problems are mutilation of material, damage by foreign objects, food and drink residues, and improper handling and shelving practices.

  • Mutilation of library materials is a matter of great concern. Writing and making other marks in books, tearing out of pages, and bending page corners all damage books and make them difficult for others to use and enjoy.
  • Damage by foreign objects is less obvious, but still significant. Post-it Notes leave residue, which sticks pages together and attracts dirt. Rubber bands dry to a gummy mess that also sticks pages together. Paper clips leave rust stains and torn pages.
  • Residues and spills from food and drink can damage library materials. 
  • Care for the binding of a book is also a concern. If you operate a photocopy machine, handle books carefully as you prepare to make copies. Be careful not to push down hard on book spines.

When shelving books on a truck or in the stacks, place books in an upright position with no other materials stacked on top of them. NEVER PLACE A BOOK ON ITS FORE EDGE (the edge opposite the spine), even for a short time or to make it easier to read the spine. Placing a book on its fore edge allows the weight of the text block to pull itself down and out of its binding. When there is insufficient room to shelve a book properly, shelve it on its spine or lay it flat.

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