Preservation Guidelines for Books & Archival Materials
Certain elements and conditions in our environment can contribute to and even accelerate the deterioration of book and archival collections. Steps should be taken to preserve and maintain the useful life of these materials. Below are general preservation guidelines that can be easily applied to home libraries.
Temperature & Humidity
Ideal levels are 68-72° F, with 40-50% RH. Monitor temperature and humidity levels. Excessive fluctuations in temperature and relative humidity can be particularly damaging to book.
All light is damaging to books and the materials from which they are made, especially light containing UV rays (such as sunlight and fluorescent light). Minimize light exposure as much as possible using drapes or shades. UV filters may also be used to decrease the potential of light damage.
Good air circulation around books should be maintained in storage areas. Avoid placing bookshelves against outer walls or near windows. Do not store books in attics or basements. These areas have the greatest fluctuations in temperature and humidity levels and can be very damaging to books.
Book collections should be stored on bookshelves made from metal or sealed wood. Unsealed wood releases damaging acidic vapors into the environment and can accelerate the deterioration of books. Books should not be shelved too tightly or they may be damaged when removed or reshelved. The use of bookends to hold books upright will eliminate strain on the bindings that leaning would cause. Tall books may be shelved with the spine down, never with the foredge down. Oversized items may be stored lying flat on the shelf; if two or more books are stacked in this way, they should be arranged in size from largest on the bottom to smallest on top.
Avoid handling books with unwashed hands. Do not pull books from shelves by the headcaps, as this will ultimately cause damage to the spine. Instead, push back the books on either side of the book to be retrieved, grasp the book with one hand and use the other hand to support it from underneath. Once a book is removed from the shelf, the remaining books should be readjusted into an upright position, the bookend moved to support the books. Do not attempt to carry more books than can be comfortably handled. Most books cannot be opened flat without some level of damage to the binding occurring. The use of cradles or supports will eliminate this problem.
Regular cleaning of areas where books are stored will ensure the protection of collections from particulate pollutants including dust and mold. It will also discourage insects and pests from devastating book collections. HEPA vacuum cleaners and cleaning cloths to which particulates adhere are very effective. HEPA air filters are also recommended.
Archival Storage Materials & Enclosures
Appropriate storage materials should be provided for fragile materials. A variety of prefabricated archival storage materials are available to house books and other items. When selecting storage materials for your book and archival collections be certain that the materials from which they are made are chemically stable. Paper and board should be acid-free, alkaline buffered, and lignin-free. Clear plastic enclosures should be uncoated and free of additives. Polyester, polypropylene and polyethylene are three types of plastic that are suitable for long-term storage. Custom-made enclosures can also be constructed for book collection materials. These enclosures act as protective shells to books and other items by keeping out dust and light, acting as buffers against atmospheric pollutants and fluctuations in the ambient environment, and providing support and stability to weak and fragile materials.
11 hours 13 min ago The Art Institute of Chicago "Be a good craftsman; it won't stop you being a genius.”
Advice from Pierre-Auguste Renoir, on his birthday.
See 13 paintings by the great French Impressionist—now on view: http://bit.ly/2lj3AVq
1 day 5 hours ago The Art Institute of Chicago NOW OPEN—Go
Speed is both a product of modern life and an agent of it. At the turn of the 20th century, new technologies of mobility and transmission—trains, cars, airplanes, radio, film, television, to name only a few—increased the pace of life, collapsing distances between people and places and assaulting the senses.
Go, the second exhibition in the Art Institute’s Modern Series, explores how artists responded to different ways of experiencing and seeing the world in the accelerated modern age—through paintings, sculpture, works on paper, photographs, designed objects, textiles, books, and films.
1 day 9 hours ago The Art Institute of Chicago Happy birthday to Winslow Homer. In 1883 the artist moved to a small coastal village in Maine, where he created a series of paintings of the sea unparalleled in American art. The paintings he created after 1882 focused almost exclusively on humankind’s age-old contest with nature.
In The Herring Net, Homer depicted the heroic efforts of fishermen at their daily work. While one fisherman hauls in the netted and glistening herring, the other unloads the catch. Utilizing the teamwork so necessary for survival, both strive to steady the precarious boat as it rides the incoming swells. Homer’s isolation of these two figures underscores the monumentality of their task: the elemental struggle against a sea that both nurtures and deprives.
See five paintings by Winslow Homer in Gallery 171 of American Art—http://bit.ly/2l89rfx