Number Two – Light
This post is going to be brief, because the message I hope to convey is really simple: Damage from light is cumulative and irreversible.
With that important tidbit in mind, be sure to keep books you care about away from a lot of light. Archives, museums and libraries that have rare and/or culturally significant books keep them in cool, dark places unless they have to be on display, in which case they make sure the light in the display area is low, and they put ultraviolet filters over windows if they can. Books that have to be open are not kept open at the same page for the duration of the display because of the damage that would occur to the open page.
While all light isn’t great for books and paper, it’s the ultraviolet radiation in light that is the most active and therefore the most potentially damaging. Light bleaches paper and will cause inks and dyes to fade. Conversely, light can also make poor-quality paper darken. In addition to the aesthetic damage that occurs when paper is exposed to ultraviolet radiation, light speeds up paper’s oxidation, making it weak and brittle. Did you know that along with natural sunlight, fluorescent light contains ultraviolet radiation as well?
Just to review:
- Light (especially ultraviolet radiation) is damaging to paper and books
- Keep your books away from light as much as you can – apply UV filters to windows if you really want to protect those books
- Light will weaken, bleach and/or darken your books