Keep your treasured books safe!

Hi everyone! I hope wherever you are, you are seeing signs of spring. We had a bitterly cold weekend, but I hope that was the last of the winter’s rage. Speaking of winter, and the cold, I thought now would be a good time to remind you that while books can last a very long time, they need to be cared for properly in order to do so.

Important-to-remember rule #1: Moisture and books do NOT go well together.
Try to keep you bookshelves on interior walls, and out of damp places like attics and basements. Mold loves paper, and it doesn’t need much help to start growing. As well as avoiding the damp, make sure you don’t jam books on your shelves if you’re running out of space (like I always seem to be). Proper ventilation around and through bookshelves will help keep your books from getting moldy or musty.
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image retrieved from Redwood Environmental Services

 Important-to-remember rule #2: Light damage is cumulative and irreversible.
Have you noticed that posters or fabric that regularly get a lot of sun fade or discolor? Even things that might not get direct sun will fade over time, and books are just as susceptible to light damage as anything else. That’s why if you go to see a museum exhibit that features books, the lighting is very dim. And if you go more than once, the book(s) on display will likely not be turned to the same pages, because the curator wants to limit the amount of light that the pages get exposed to. Light not only causes fading and discoloration, but it speeds the chemical breakdown of books as well, leading to brittle pages that crack and break more easily. Try to keep your books away from light, and especially out of direct sunlight.
Screen Shot 2017-03-11 at 7.12.50 PM   IMG_1439
image retrieved from NEDCC

I’ll keep this post short and sweet, as those are the two biggies in terms of damage, and also the two causes of damage that are easiest to prevent. For those of us who don’t live in a museum, and who don’t have all the latest tech at our fingertips to control humidity and light, keeping your books out of the damp and out of the sun is a good start!

If Your Books Are Falling Apart at the Seams

Do you have books that need some TLC? And maybe you were impressed by BookIdeas’ post from November 18, 2014, A Bookbinder Near You, but don’t have one near you? Or, perhaps you consider yourself pretty handy or crafty, or both, and think you could do those much-needed book repairs yourself, if only you had some instruction? Well. Look no further, because today’s post is for you!

Book Repair Instructions has step-by-step guides for repairs on everything you can think of, including end papers, signatures, cleaning and repairing pages, spine repairs and more. Make sure to read the Glossary of Book Repair Terms first, though, to make sure you and the site’s author are talking about the same things. Book Repair Basics is also a vital early step, because there, the author touches on some very relevant points such as, Is my book worth repairing?, Book repair tools, How to make clam shell boxes, and other fundamentals of book repair.

Good luck! May all your broken spines be mended, and all your corners be made strong again.