1. Care and Handling of Library
LYRASIS Preservation Services
Funded in part by a grant from the National Endowment
for Humanities, division of Preservation and Access.
2. LYRASIS Preservation
• Education and training: full-day workshops, live online
and self-paced classes
• Information and referral: call us with your preservation
• Loan services: we have environmental monitoring
equipment available for loan.
• Publications: all types of preservation publications,
downloadable for free.
• Disaster assistance: We are available 24/7 to assist
• Consulting: personalized assistance for your specific
• For more information: http://bit.ly/LYRPresHome
• This short class is intended to introduce
participants to some the basics when caring for
and handling library materials.
• LYRASIS has a large variety of classes available
on the preservation of library and archival
– For more information on LYRASIS Preservation, please
– For a list of preservation related classes and more, visit
our main class page at:
4. Class Objectives
• Gain basic care and handling of
materials in your institution in order
to minimize damage.
• Identify issues that may be
damaging to the library materials
so you can correct those issues.
• Learn how to begin training staff and users
effectively! The more people know how to take care
of library materials, the better.
what does this mean?
• Preservation is the sum of the activities a
library undertakes to maintain its
collections in usable condition for as long
as they are needed.
– This is not about restricted use, having all ―perfect‖
books, or keeping them forever…but making them
useable and accessible for as long as they are
needed- and taking good care of them ensures this will
who is responsible?
• Everyone is responsible!
– A proactive approach to preservation is the
most cost effective and practical means of
extending the life of a collection.
– All staff can help contribute to the care and
preservation of books and library materials.
7. Preservation Activities
These are some of the preservation activities you can do…
• Most materials are damaged due to abuse, neglect, and
lack of knowledge. Proper care & handling is very
• There are simple things you can do to educate your
staff and users. Setting up a display, for instance, could
identify the main hazards for materials and instruct how
to avoid damage.
• Proper environmental control prolongs the life of the
• If book repair is something your library is interested in
doing, LYRASIS offers classes in many levels of book
• Emergency Preparedness is important because it
helps you to plan for a disaster in your institution.
8. Let’s Begin!
• To properly understand the proper care
and handling of books, let’s take a look
into the anatomy of a book and how it is
• Knowledge of construction is essential
to understanding how mishandling
affects the physical operation of a book.
9. • The front and
made of heavy
book board or
card stock in
the case of
10. • The spine of
the book cover
spine of the
11. • The joint area, (also
known as the hinge
or groove) is the
interior or exterior
point on a book
where the cover
meets the spine.
Inside, it's where the
flyleaf (front free
endpaper) meets the
endpaper which is
pasted to the inside
cover of the book).
12. Book Structure
• The top edge
of the boards,
when a book
is upright on a
shelf is the
13. Book Structure • The unbound
edge of the
may have gilded
(gold) or painted
tabs or a thumb
index are affixed
to the fore-edge.
14. Book Structure
• The bottom
edge of the
and text block
that the book
rests on when
it is sitting
upright on a
shelf is the
15. Book Structure
are found at
the very front
and back of
They play a
critical part in
16. Book Structure
the part of the
paper that is
glued to the
17. Book Structure
• Fly leaf –the
loose part of
18. Book Structure
• Hinge – is the
inner margin of
area closest to
the spine is
also called the
―gutter‖ of the
referring to the
19. Book Structure
• Headcap- the
of the spine.
20. Book Structure
• Headband- a
at the head
and tail of the
21. Before the textblock and case are pasted together, this is what you would see
22. Before the textblock and case are pasted together, this is what you would see
• The inlay
spine of the
23. Before the textblock and case are pasted together, this is what you would see
• The board
24. Before the textblock and case are pasted together, this is what you would see
25. Before the textblock and case are pasted together, this is what you would see
• The super is
the spine of
the book and
of the super.
26. • It is important to note that the only thing that holds a
textblock in the covers in contemporary books is the
pastedown part of the endsheet, and the super-
(sometimes very weak and cheap, and sometimes non-
existent). These two connections holds the weight of the
text block into the case.
• This is why proper shelving and care for books is so
important. If materials are not cared for properly they can
easily break and tear in these areas!
27. • Bindings
Some books are sewn thru
the groupings of folded
sheets, called signatures.
In sewn bindings, you
should be able to visibly see
the signatures, and you will
find thread in the center of
28. • Bindings
Other books are not sewn and
have glued bindings. Commonly
referred to as ―double fan‖, a
gathering of loose pages are run
over a roller ("fanning" the pages)
to apply a thin layer of glue to
each page edge. This is then
done in the opposite direction so
a small amount of glue adheres
the pages together at the spine.
However, certain types of paper
do not hold adhesive well, and
with wear and tear, the pages can
come loose. Glued binding
29. Threats to Collections
chemical and physical composition
• Items in collections are complex;
composed of organic and inorganic
materials that will deteriorate at different
rates over time.
• Design and construction of an item is
vital as well - this could be true for a
book as well as cd’s and other media.
30. Threats to Collections
• Environment and storage are critical to
collections- such as temperature, RH, light,
proper storage furniture, and good
housekeeping. How do you ensure you have the
• You can monitor the collections’ environment by using
environmental monitoring equipment such as
hygrothermographs, data loggers, and software such
as eClimate Notebook. Below are links to two types of
31. Threats to Collections
• Use and handling of a collection is
another threat – The frequent use and
poor handling of items by staff and
patrons can cause damage. Poor repair
practices, and poor transportation can
also accelerate damage.
32. Threats to Collections
• Some use and handling examples:
– High use damage: patrons folding corners of
books and magazines instead of using book
– Poor repair practices: using pressure sensitive
tape (like ―Scotch‖ tape), can stain pages and
cause further tearing and breaking.
– Poor transportation: moving books and other
materials that are not properly supported can
cause damage to the paper and the overall
structure of the format.
33. Collection Environment
All of these are potential threats to the collections! Lets
look at each one in the following slides….
Insects and Pests
34. Collection Environment:
• High temperatures accelerate
deterioration by increasing the speed
of chemical reactions.
• Temperature can also encourage mold
and insect growth.
• The ideal temperature range for
general collections is between 68-72F,
with little fluctuation.
35. Collection Environment
• Definition: total amount of moisture that
air at a given temperature is capable of
• All organic materials containing moisture
respond to the surrounding moisture
content by changing shape or size. Rapid
RH fluctuations cause physical distortion
(i.e. paper, boards and leather to swell),
and also encourages mold growth and
• Ideal relative humidity (RH) for general
collections is between 40-55%
36. Collection Environment
Insects and Pests
• Insects such as silverfish, roaches, carpet beetles
cause staining and losses. Pests ingest cellulose,
glues, & starch filling in cloth. Mice and rats can
gnaw on through insulation to electrical wires.
• Fact sheets on a variety of insects are available
• Mold is also a natural food for many booklice and
silverfish. The mold attracts these pests to your
collections, where they eat paper along with the
37. Collection Environment
• Lack of air circulation and high RH (above 65%) are
great ingredients for mold growth. It can weaken, stain,
disfigure paper and photographic materials.
• Mold outbreaks occur in collections whenever
environmental conditions are right for dormant spores to
bloom, (i.e., dead air, high humidity).
• To find out more about mold in collections, read
―Invasion of the Giant Mold Spore‖ from LYRASIS:
38. Collection Environment
• Both visible light and ultraviolet (UV) light cause damage, but
UV is most damaging. Present in natural and fluorescent light,
UV light causes fading & yellowing of dyes and pigments, heat
hastens this deterioration.
• Remember that damage by light is cumulative and
irreversible. This means that damage is done day by day, and
there is are no salvage procedures once the damage is done.
• Best practice to take preventative measures: keep all original
materials away from direct and bright light, and limit brightness
and length of time when on display.
39. Collection Environment
• Gaseous pollutants such as sulphur-dioxide,
hydrogen sulfide and nitrogen dioxide, combine with
moisture in the air to form acids that attack and
damage library materials.
• Ozone, which is a product of the combination of
sunlight and nitrogen dioxide from vehicles, damage
all organic materials. Ozone may also be produced
by electrostatic filtering systems used in some HVAC
as well as by electrostatic photocopy ―Xerox‖
40. Collection Environment
• Particulate pollutants such as soot and dust abrade,
soil, and disfigure materials. Dust is a mixture of
fragments of human skin, minute particles of mineral
or plant material, salts, etc. Much of dirt is
hygroscopic (water attracting), and this has a
tendency to encourage mold growth. Particulate
pollutants are very damaging to magnetic and optical
41. Low Cost Environmental Practices
• Turn off lights when not in use.
• Close blinds to prevent unnecessary light and
• Improve air circulation with fans.
• Practice integrated pest management. The use of
fumigants and pesticides is not recommended except
as a last resort, because of health and safety issues.
• Ensure good housekeeping with regular scheduling.
• Keep HVAC functioning and maintained.
42. Environmental Specifications for
Printed material such as books,
journals, newspapers and single
• Temperature: 68-72°F
• Relative Humidity: 40-50%
• Many formats have specific ideal
storage requirements: the main
issue is consistency with no
43. Environmental Specifications for
Find out more information on how to maintain
proper environmental conditions by
reviewing these publications:
(Look under ―The Environment‖)
44. Collection Storage Furniture:
what is best?
• Powder coated, baked enamel steel is
• Avoid wood because it can off-gas and
potentially harm materials. If you use wood,
you may cover it with polyester film,
Plexiglas, or glass to prevent possible
• Use adjustable shelves to accommodate
• Make sure your furniture is smooth, with
no sharp edges that could catch hands
45. Collection Storage Furniture
• Shelve 4‖-6‖ (minimum) off the floor
to reduce the risk of damage from
flooding, mop splashing, or just kicks
from people passing by.
• Use shelving that has a canopy on
top because this will deflect water,
light and dust- and in case of leaky
pipes... Or don’t use the top shelf.
• Flat files should be 2‖ deep to allow
for easy insertion and removal of
46. Shelving Practices
• Shelve materials
middle example in
this photo is
47. Shelving Practices
• Consider the top
materials are too
loose and can
48. Shelving Practices
• Looking at the lower
shelf in this image,
these books are
shelved too tight, as
being pulled with the
book that is being
49. Shelving Practices
• Separate oversize material- oversize
material should not be forced to fit on
an inappropriate shelf.
• Use step stools. Occasionally, you
may see someone stepping on the
middle shelf to pull an item on higher
shelf.—a no no!
• Use appropriate book ends to support
materials. If you have a large book on
the shelf, do not use the smallest book
end you have. It will slide before you
get away. Dry bricks wrapped in heavy
paper make great, low cost bookends.
50. Collection Storage:
• Provide air circulation to avoid mold growth.
• Keep materials out of direct sunlight to avoid fading.
• Avoid basements & attics. Basements can flood and
attics can be hot and humid. These spaces may have
pests and rodents.
• Keep book cases 2‖ away from the wall – and books
another 2‖ away from the back of the book case
especially if the cases are positioned against the
outside walls of your library building. This is to avoid
changes in temperature and humidity that could harm
• Carpets may harbor insects, mold. If you must have
carpet, keep it clean.
51. The Maze of Terminology
It is important to be familiar with terminology especially when buying
preservation supplies from commercial vendors. What information do these
terms convey? Lets review.
• ―Archival quality‖
• ―Alkaline buffered‖
• ―Lignin‖ and ―lignin-free‖
52. The Maze of Terminology
• ―Archival quality‖
• This term is often used to refer to materials that are
quality and will not damage materials enclosed in
them. However, there are no standards for the use
of this word. It suggests a material is long lasting or
stable, but is often misused by vendors.
• Buy your materials from a reputable source, not
drugstores or hobby stores.
• Where can you find reputable vendors? Look to the
LYRASIS Preservation Services and Supplies List
53. The Maze of Terminology
• This term gives a little more information, and
implies that the product has a pH of 7.0 or higher.
• However, the material could be extremely alkaline,
or neutral – there is no way of knowing.
• This term is not really specific enough, and does
not guarantee product will stay acid free.
54. The Maze of Terminology
• ―Alkaline buffered‖
• Also known as ―buffered‖.
• This means an alkaline substance
such as calcium carbonate has been
added to a paper product to slow the
attack of acids, either inherent in the
material itself or from other items that it
is in contact with.
• Buffered material usually has a pH
between 7.0 and 9.5.
55. The Maze of Terminology
• ―Lignin‖ and ―lignin-free‖
• Lignin is a a substance found in all plant
matter, and when not extracted in the
papermaking process, causes deterioration in
paper. Unprocessed ground wood paper, like
newspapers and cheap store paper, is very
high in lignin.
• There are some paper and board products
that are lignin-free. They have less than 1%
lignin content and are a high quality product.
56. The Maze of Terminology
• This is another misleading term, because it is not
associated with any standard, it is essentially
• Look for materials that have passed the PAT test.
The PAT (Photographic Activity Test) is a
worldwide standard (ISO Standard 18916) for
archival quality in photographic enclosures
• Find out more about the PAT though the Image
57. Standard for Permanence of Paper
The ANSI / NISO Z39.48-2002 standard for
permanence of paper is for both coated and
uncoated paper. Some key points of this standard
• pH - neutral to alkaline pH (7.5-10)
• Alkaline reserve- minimum of 2% (usually calcium
carbonate), i.e. buffered.
• Tear resistance - a way of measuring a paper's
resistance to tear.
• Lignin content - no more than 1% by weight—
(need some lignin to keep paper strong}
58. Book Enclosures
• Boxing is an alternative means for providing
additional protection. Housing books in protective
enclosures offer protection from shelf damage, dirt
and dust on the shelf and during transportation,
good support for the book itself, and a buffer from
rapid temperature and humidity fluctuations.
• The following are a few of the variety of enclosures:
59. Book Enclosures
Drop spine box : Usually a custom
order, drop spine boxes make materials easy
to lift out without damage. These typically are
more expensive than other types of
Phase box : These boxes are custom
made and need equipment to fabricate. Not
as user friendly (flaps get cumbersome) as
the drop-spine box and can only be made so
big before the structure starts losing support.
Four-flap : Four-flap enclosures are good
for smaller items and made out of a thinner
board than phase boxes. No large equipment
is needed for fabrication.
60. Book Enclosures
Document boxes : Are alkaline or low
lignin content boxes. They can be used
upright or flat. If under-filled use a spacer
board to provide support. If used upright for
a book, insert book spine down and use
spacer board for support.
Envelopes : Can be used for segregating
loose items, or items that may easily be
damaged on the shelf. Pamphlet binders
can also be used for single-signature
61. Paper and Board Products:
what to look for
• Standard for permanent paper (Z39.48-2002).
• Photographic Activity Test passed (PAT). Specifications for
paper and paperboard enclosures that come indirect contact with
photographic material should have pH of 7-9 according to ISO.
• Non-bleeding products–avoid dyed products.
• Cellulose fiber composition with alkaline reserve
• Contains structural features that do not damage
contents– such as internal flaps and internal metal
fasteners. Adhesive seams should pass PAT test because many
adhesives discolor with age and contain other impurities such as
copper, sulfur, plasticizers and solvents.
62. Housing Specifications:
Never use enclosures made from:
– Unprocessed wood pulp paper.
– Glassine- not recommended because most are
acidic and most manufacturers are unable to
maintain the recommended acid-free with neutral
pH with desirable alkaline buffered stock.
– Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) to house or store
– Avoid colored papers because they often contain
dyes or inks that can migrate or bleed.
63. General Handling Guidelines
• Keep hands clean during long periods of exposure to
materials. Why? Because dust and dirt can easily be
transferred from one item to another. Hand cream
and lotion are not recommended prior to handling
library materials because of residue left on materials.
• Keep food and drinks away -lunch, snacks,
beverages do not belong in the stacks. Help remind
users not to eat in the library. If they have to have
drinks, then containers should have lids.
• Avoid using metal paper clips and rubber bands
64. General Handling Guidelines
• Use pencils in the Reading Room and supply them
for your patrons- this can help to avoid them using
pens around library materials.
• Be prepared to safely handle materials, like using
book trucks and carts.
• Avoid forcing bound books to open when copying or
• Use book cradles : they support the item without
• Do not use pressure sensitive tape – it leaves residue
and stains on items. So do metal clips that can rust.
65. Document Repair
• Pressure Sensitive tape is evil.
– Over time, it dries, yellows, and falls off
leaving stains on the material.
• If you must use tape on circulating
• Tyvek tape: an inert polyester web, acrylic
• Document repair tape – alkaline buffered tissue,
• Self adhesive Mylar.
• AVOID: cellophane, masking, and ―book‖ tapes.
Tape of any kind should not be used on
66. Prevent Damage:
Prepare for Disaster
• Natural disasters like hurricanes, tornados, etc.
can flood libraries causing damages to
• …but man-made disasters may be caused by:
– Disgruntled patrons and ex-employees…known to
cause fires in in book drops and in libraries.
– In 1990s, research in Pittsburgh area libraries showed
that 28% of library items were damaged in book
67. Prevent Damage:
Prepare for Disaster
• Store materials off the floor & away from exterior walls.
• Don’t store collections in the attic or basement.
• Be familiar with recovery procedures, stage mock
• Be familiar with disaster recovery vendors, e.g..,
dehumidification, blast freezing companies, freeze
• Have supplies handy at all times – you never know when
a disaster (small or large) may strike!
68. Prevent Damage:
Prepare for Disaster
• Check out the LYRASIS Disaster
Resources for information on disaster
prevention, response and recovery:
69. Prevent Damage During Transport
• Use a book truck instead of trying to use your
hands and arms-it is damaging to materials
and not to mention that you are hurting
yourself. Ideally, a book truck should have
wide shelves so items are secure in transit.
Good book trucks have bumpers on corners
to minimize damage from inadvertent
70. Prevent Damage During Transport
• Place items upright just like you would on the shelf.
• Do not overload because trucks easily topple over.
• No drinks on trucks because they can spill on
• Avoid wobbly trucks- safety first!
• Ask for help to maneuver a heavy truck.
71. Shelving and Handling Tips
Do Grasp books in middle of spine
• Remove books by grasping both sides of the book about
mid-way of the spine with thumb and fingers of one hand,
and using the other hand to support the adjacent books.
If it is too tight, remove a book or two, place on the shelf
below or above, then pull the item you need, then re-
shelve the books you just placed on the shelve below or
above. Ideally, it is a good idea to have a small
stand/table or book truck at the end of the isle so if you
need to place items on it so you can pull what you need.
72. Shelving and Handling Tips
• don’t Pull at the end caps- they are very vulnerable.
Patrons and staff tend to pull end caps because it is
faster- but it is damaging.
• don’t Store books on their foredge- it is damaging to their
structure . If they cannot be stored upright, store them
spine down. It is less damaging.
73. Shelving and Handling Tips
• Store oversized flat or spine down
74. Shelving and Handling Tips
• Use a step stool or small ladder to pull
materials. Shelves are not designed for
75. Identify good and bad practices
in this picture
76. Identify good and bad practices
in this picture
• Most upright
• Looks clean
• Books on the floor
• Books hanging off the shelf – by the head tail
• Books leaning – should be upright
77. Shelving and Handling
• Pamphlet files are great for
keeping newsletters and other
flimsy materials together and
• Pamphlets could also be sewn
into their own binder or placed
in a supportive envelope.
Instead of sewn-in, these
binders can also contain
attached envelopes or four flap
78. Handling Tips During Photocopying
• Imagine you were a popular book (like a recipe
book or crafts), would photocopying feel like
torture to you? From the book’s point of view,
pages being turned roughly, binding stretched
and pressed down and copied could be stressful
and damaging to its structure.
– Examine material to see if the binding is
damaged, are pages are torn?
– When you open a book, is there enough margin
inside the gutter or does the text run way down
inside the crease of the binding?
– Is the item oversize, heavy?
79. Handling Tips During Photocopying
• What you can do:
– Handle material gently – support the item you are
copying to prevent folding of pages. Twisting
and flexing a book to open over 180 degrees is
damaging. Sometimes opening even lass can
damage- depending on the book at hand.
– Support the edges of oversize materials. Ask
staff for assistance.
– Staff can educate patrons to ask for help.
80. Handling During Photocopying
Do not press books down on platen
81. Binder Minder Copier
•Using a drop edge machine can be better for bindings,
especially for books that have text running into the gutter.
•These copiers have slanted, supportive surface on one side and a
photocopying surface which extends into the gutter of the book,
enabling photocopying without flattening the volume.
•An overhead scanner/copier may be best for fragile materials.
82. A few other materials commonly
CD’s / DVD’s
83. Use and Handling Tips for
• Use lint-free cotton gloves or smooth examination
gloves. Our fingers have natural oils that can be
transferred onto the emulsion side.
• Sort by size if possible. It is best if same size materials
are housed together to support each other in box,
eliminating floppy and exposed edges.
• Use acid-free enclosures (PAT tested) get supplies from
reputable vendors and must pass PAT test as specified
by the International Organization for Standardization
• If you must label the photo, do so on the back using #2
pencil – do not press hard.
• Store negatives separately : if you lose prints you can
always get copies made from the negatives.
84. Use and Handling Tips for
• Minimize handling as much as possible.
• Avoid touching the surface of any tape.
• Do not use commercial products to clean tape.
• Return tapes and diskettes to their individual
• Store upright, like books.
• Store in clean, cool, dry environment and away
from magnetic field.
• Recommended temperature: 60°F and 30-40%
85. Use and Handling Tips for Discs
• Handle with clean hands by the outer edge You may also
handle by the center hole because only the reflective
layers contain data.
• Use soft cotton cloth to wipe dust. Wipe from center to
outside edge, not in a circle There also machines to clean
CDs- but be careful as some of them just go round in a
• Label with non-damaging pens If you have to label them,
use permanent ink pen without dyes like Kaiser pens (non
toxic and permanent).
• Store in plastic cases upright. Storing in cases protects
from light and dust.
• Store in clean, cool, dry environment. Recommended
temperature: 68°F (Warmer and more humid may lead to
oxidation of metallic reflecting layers of disc)
86. Use and Handling Tips for Discs
• Handle or touch surface because that may damage the
• Write in data area of disc. If you must write- use only the
inner clear hub.
• Use labels – any kind of labels may unbalance the disc. If
a label is already on the disc, do not try to remove it
because that would create stress on that at particular area.
Such stress causes delamination, especially in writable
• Bend or flex -Bending and flexing deform the substrate,
wiping out pits and causing disc to become unreadable.
• Expose to extreme heat and humidity.
• Clean in a circular direction.
87. Your Responsibility
Now let us look at small steps you can take in your library:
• Institute a “care and handling” week in your library
for patrons and staff.
• Help users who need help - look out for patrons that
might need help in pulling materials. Offer to help
• Avoid irreversible repairs like using scotch tape=
spread the word that office supplies such as paper
clips, pressure sensitive tapes, post-it notes damage
materials. Pressure sensitive tapes and post-it leave
adhesive residues on materials.
88. Your Responsibility
• Report damages and mutilation to supervisors.
Patrons also damage materials by writing and
marking on the materials. Some patrons like to
remove a page (instead of photocopying it).
• Monitor the environment and do what you can.
Report drastic temperature changes. High
temperatures damage materials by making them
become brittle faster.
• Discourage repairs by patrons by having a ―book
doctor‖ or someway they can properly report wear
and tear damage without fixing it themselves.
89. User Education
There can be many ways to educate users on
the proper care of materials:
• Issue plastic bags on rainy days.
• Give out bookmarkers with messages.
• Use posters in the library.
• Get creative! What other ways can you think
90. Find Us on Facebook
• Be a fan and keep in touch!
91. Thank You!
Contact us if you have any
LYRASIS Preservation Services