If you have started a book collection, odds are you want your books to stay in good shape for many years of reading and rereading. We’ve collected some of the top tips for caring for your private library to help maintain their covers and pages.
1. Pick the right spot. Book materials are fairly delicate materials so keep them away from sources of moisture (exterior walls, basements) and smoke (kitchens, fireplaces).
2. Store them upright. Book will support each other on a shelf when stored upright with bookends to prop up the ends. Don’t lay on the spine or fore-edges since that can separate the book.
3. Avoid sunlight. Sunlight, while wonderful to read by, can damage covers and fade text if a book is too long exposed to it.
4. Use proper storage. If you can invest in them, get bookshelves with glass doors. It will help minimize damaging elements getting to the volumes. Bookshelves should also be sized properly so books can be stored upright.
5. Dust. Whether you use a microfiber cloth, feather duster or handheld vacuum, removing the dust from the top and spines of your books on a regular basis will help keep them in good shape.
6. Use bookmarks. It’s always good to have a few bookmarks on hand when you need to put a book down. Lying them open to the page or otherwise marking the page can lead to long term damage of the book.
7. Books and drinks don’t mix. So your favorite thing to do may be to sit and sip a cup of cocoa or another beverage of choice. However, this could lead to spillage which can ruin a good book.
8. Repair with care. If a page tears or some other type of damage occurs, do some research on the best repair techniques. Don’t use tapes and glues you find at a office supply store since they could further damage the volume unless they are clearly marked "museum quality."
9. Protect your books from insects. Silverfish, cockroaches and other insects will eat the paper portions of books and you will see indications of insect damage on the pages. If you find any of these insects in your home; call a professional exterminator.
10. Handle with care. When removing books from shelves, don’t push down on the spine. Instead push the two adjacent books in so you can firmly grab the book from both sides.
By following these common sense steps you can maintain your library longer and enjoy your favorite books for decades.