Here are some tips to proper care of books. We should love our books because they hold valuable information and have immense antiquarian value.
Consciously or unconsciously, most of us treat books with as much disrespect as we would our enemies. In the process, we send our books to the grave even before they reach adolescence. More often than not, books are subject to poor handling, harsh light, dust, insects, improper storage, food stains, water spillage and even used as coasters, whenever convenient.
We should love our books because they hold valuable information and have immense antiquarian value. They are also the most treasured collectibles. If not properly maintained however, dust can build up on the covers. Here are some tips to make your books look brand new longer.
1. Begin to exercise care the first time you open a book. Lay the book on its back. Open it a few pages at a time, beginning with one side, then on the other. Press lightly along the bound (inside) edge as you turn the pages to minimize the stiffness. It also helps to prevent “book spine” injury.
2. Make a habit of using a bookmark, instead of turning down page corners, or leaving a book lying face down.
3. Don’t overcrowd bookshelves, to allow easy removal of books – otherwise the spine will be damaged if you do it by force. To pull out a book from the shelf, insert forefinger and thumb on either side of the book then gently slide it out.
4. Stack flat oversized books such as atlases, art and music books.
5. To preserve their bindings, don’t let your books slump on partly filled shelves. Use book ends so that they will stand upright.
6. Set books near the front of the shelf to allow air to circulate at the back.
7. Remember that too much heat dries out books; too much moisture causes mildew.
8. Condition leather-bound books for temperature change with fine paste wax. The best time to do it is when the book is new, then a piece of clean, white, absorbent cloth. Spread quickly and lightly over the leather, making sure not to touch the end paper or pages.
9. Mend torn pages with gummed onionskin paper or tissue.
10. Dust books every month with a soft, clean cloth. To give your books a good dusting, wipe clean with a cloth. If they are particularly dirty, take each one from the shelf and vacuum it with the brush attachment of your vacuum. If the books are leather bound, you can use a fine leather polish on the covers that can be bought in bookstores.
11. Once or twice a year, remove books from shelves and dust them individually.
How we handle and use a book contributes to its longevity. It’s not only us that will benefit from the knowledge, entertainment and wisdom that will come from these books but the next generations who will be using them in the future.
Housekeeping Made Easy by Ma. A. Sicat
Care, Handling and Storage of Books