There’s no particular rule on how many books you need to call your reading space a library. As long as you share the collection, it earns the title! However, your library won’t last long without proper upkeep and care. Here are some quick tips for protecting your home library so that your books stand the test of time.
Pick the Right Shelving Location
Where you put your library has a surprising impact on the health of your books. For example, books stored in a basement, garage, or near the window are more likely to experience high moisture levels. Improperly sealed rooms let in more moisture, and excessive moisture leads to wavy, aged-looking pages and even mold growth.
Sunlight is another significant villain in the world of book maintenance as it can gradually lighten the color of exposed pages and slipcovers. Unlike damage from moisture, the only way to treat sun damage is to replace the ruined element.
Avoiding these issues is as easy as placing books in an area out of direct sunlight and away from areas of high humidity. Sealed shelves, like glass cabinets, also help protect books from environmental damage, though sunlight is still a factor to consider.
Clean Often (and Gently)
Cleaning is a powerful tool for those looking to keep their library at its best. Dust might not seem like a big deal, but the particles it carries are potentially acidic or pigmented. Acidity causes wear and tear to pages and covers, while pigmented particles, like soot, leave lasting colors behind. Quickly dusting the books and shelves solves the issue. Remember to clean gently to avoid damaging hardcover headcaps or roughing up the corners of paperbacks.
Prepare for Repairs
Some of our most beloved books have been through some things. Whether it’s the childhood novel that introduced us to the world of reading or a practically ancient manuscript held together by sheer willpower, books show their age.
Whenever you have enough of a collection that you’re comfortable declaring it a library, it’s important to add repair supplies to the collection. From binding tape to protective sleeves, these tools help your favorite books last. Just keep in mind that there’s an entire field dedicated to the art of book repairs as amateur conservators often make risky book repair mistakes.
Following these quick tips for protecting your home library ensures that your favorite graphic novels, anthologies, children’s books, and everything in between last for years to come.
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