- Books, Literature, and Writing
5 Ways to Take Care of Your Books
How to handle and store books that you love:
Do you love your real book collection? Want to know how to keep that collection in good shape?
If you answer yes to both questions, you and I have a lot in common. I have loved and cherished books for most of my life. Unfortunately I have made more than a few mistakes caring for my books. Now that I am a grown up and have had a lot of life experiences, I can share with you what I have learned.
I was very fortunate to have worked in a public library for many years and attended several workshops to learn how to repair books that were broken. Most of my knowledge about how to care for books, however, has come from reading articles and noticing what happened to my own collection.
If you keep on scrolling down, you will find a list of ways to take care of your real books so they can last a lifetime or two.
Note: For antiquarian/old collectible books, you'll need specialist advice that is not covered by this article.
5 do-able tips for protecting your book collection: - Avoid extremes!
If you take care of your books, they can last a very long time. You just have to be diligent and neat.
- Avoid extreme heat!
In other words, do not store your books in the attic--especially if it is not insulated. Heat will cause the paper to deteriorate. The pages will become brittle. If the book is a hardback one that has cloth on the cover, the heat will also destroy the fabric.
- Avoid dampness.
Basements that are below ground or partially underground will be damp at least some of the time. Mildew is not a book's friend.
- Avoid direct sunlight.
If you want the cover or the paper wrapper to not fade, then keep your valuable books out of the direct sun.
- Store books up-right on your shelf.
Over-sized books (like coffee table books) can be stored flat. Do not let the books lean at a slant. That could cause the spine to get weak and permanently make the book crooked.
- Use a thin bookmark.
Print your own bookmark. Here is a poem to use on your bookmark written by Janette Moore:
Do's and Don't's for Library Lovers:
I am a library book
Treat me with care
So I can be passed on
To others and share
My contents can be read
From cover to cover
Please turn my pages gently
So I can recover
Don't leave me open
Just in case I am broken
Please use a thin bookmark
As a reminder token
If by chance
Should I need repair
No sticky tape please
Pass me to a Librarian for care
I trust in you
To care for me
So I can be read
Store your books up-right on a shelf
or lay your oversized books flat, until you find some bookends.
There is one big "DON"T" in the above image.
Do not allow books to "lean" for a long period of time. Doing that will damage the spine and textblock and you might never get your book straight again. Use book ends or stack books flat. Stacking the books flat is not a widely recommended practice, but if it is the only way you can keep books from being on a slant, then so be it; buy bookends ASAP.
The shelves below are almost perfect.
These books are stored almost to perfection: - photo credit: http://www.morguefile.com/archive/display/94086
Book Ends to keep your books in line:
If you do not wish to purchase book ends, then stack several books flat and use that stack as a book end.
I highly recommend the first bookends you see below. They might not be pretty, but they are the best for keeping your book straight.
Bookends just like the library uses. I like these particular ones because they take up minimal space on the shelf. Non-skid.
Do You Keep Your Books-- - or pass them along?
What do you do with a book after you finish reading it? Do you save it or pass it along? If you save a book, where do you keep it? If you do not keep a book, then what do you do with it? Donate, toss or share? NOTE: this is not the guestbook.
Vote and then leave your comment:
Do you think that real, printed books should be saved and taken care of?
Books: where do you get them?
Where do you get your books to read?
How NOT to save your place in a book: - Sadly, I have done this to my books. My bad.
A List of my online resources for information about book care:
As stated before, I do a lot of reading. If you want to check out my resources, you are more than welcome to do so.
Links to Hints for Handling your precious books:
I am no expert, but I do read a lot about book care. If you have a question, I will gladly try to find the best answer for you.
If you just want to leave a comment about how you feel about real, printed books, then please do.
FYI: this is my guestbook for visitors. Thanks for visiting this page about caring for your books.