ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Proper Care and Storage of Books in Your Home Library

Updated on January 29, 2021
kschimmel profile image

Kimberly is a self-professed bibliophile who has loves to teach and write.

Learn from Librarians

Steacie Science and Engineering Library at York University
Steacie Science and Engineering Library at York University | Source

Care and Feeding of the Home Library

While many of us love to buy books, read books, and reread them, we often neglect giving our books the care they deserve. Whether a book is a first edition signed by the author or a beloved paperback from a used book store, give it some loving care and prolong its life.

Preventive Care for New Books

Book jacket covers are a wise investment to protect valuable hardcover books. Clear, library-quality book jackets can be wiped clean with a lint-free cloth and a small amount of rubbing alcohol as needed. Preserving the book jacket helps maintain the resale value of a hardcover book.

Keep a supply of bookmarks near all your favorite reading spots. Break the habit of dog-earing pages or using paper clips to mark your place. Never lay a book face down on a table to hold your place. The latter may cause any librarians standing nearby to gasp, hyperventilate, faint, or hit you with ruler.

In our eagerness to begin reading, few of us think about breaking in a new book. It takes just a few minutes and helps protect the book from damage later. Slip off the book jacket. Stand the book on its spine on a flat surface and open the front and back covers. Smooth the edges where the endpapers join the pages to the cover. Next, take about ten pages from the front of the book and let them fall to the front cover. Smooth these pages down, then do the same with a few back pages. Alternate front and back in this way until you reach the center of the book and all pages have been turned (Rosenberg & Marcowitz, 2002).

Maintenance of the Library

Dust books regularly with a lint-free cloth or use a vacuum attachment covered with cheesecloth to remove dust from books. Protect books from extremely high or low humidity and from extreme temperatures. Keep books out of direct sunlight, which will fade the covers.

Shelving for books should be glass, metal, or unpolished wood. Wood polishes can leave residue on books. Wood also absorbs moisture in humid environments. Allow sufficient shelving so that books are not crowded. When removing a book from a shelf, push back the books on either side so the book may be grasped by the covers and pulled off the shelf. Avoid pulling books out by the top edge of the spine (Library of Congress, n.d.).

Cleaning and Repair of Books

Art gum erasers remove most marks from books. An artist's kneaded eraser can also remove marks. Use erasers gently on pages and covers. Small amounts of glue can be used to reattach loose endpapers or peeling paperback covers. Apply glue with a toothpick in small spaces and use waxed paper to protect other pages from the adhesive. See the references below if you need detailed information on repairing various types of damage in paperbacks or hardbacks.

Moving, Shipping and Storage of Books

Books in transit need special care. Individually wrap hardcovers in brown paper, waxed paper, or tissue. Use many small boxes for moving to avoid dropping heavy boxes and damaging books (and toes.) Store books in climate-controlled areas; avoid sweltering attics, freezing sheds, and damp basements.

For shipping, wrap books individually, then pack in a box large enough to allow some cushion on all sides of the book, being especially mindful of the corners. Seal packages securely with plenty of packing tape.

Proper Care Preserves Value

Throughout most of human history, books were rare treasures. They were guarded by scribes, painstakingly copied by hand, chained to library tables, and taken as valuable spoils of war by conquering armies. Scholars treated their books with respect, and academic libraries still carefully preserve many important documents. Your home library is also a valuable treasure to you, your family and your friends. Just a small investment of time will keep those books in service for a long time.


Library of Congress. (n.d.). Care, Handling and Storage of Books.

Rosenberg,M. & Marcowitz, B. (2002). The Care and Feeding of Books Old and New. New York: St. Martin's Press.

Basics of Book Repair

Book Lovers' Poll

What kind of books do you prefer to read?

See results

This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)