Writing is often synonymous with secondary memory and what better way to retain written work than by formulating them into a course in miracles that may be preserved over centuries. All that we know about history is by virtue of scriptures and engravings. However, the concept of reading and deciphering the scriptures and codes, evolved over a period of time. Books are thus, a priceless collection of the interpretation of thoughts, perceptions and truly deserve every bit of detail that goes into their maintenance.
The books that constitute a library may be generally categorized as antique, philosophy, magazines, literature and reference. A public library is often profuse with a wider variety. It is most important to take good care of the books, lest you should be in a quandary about the missing pages, torn cover etc. Antique books make up a significant category that needs extra attention due to the valuable information, restricted availability and the ‘first edition’ attribute.
Identify the parts of the book that need attention
The first step to good book care is to know the parts of the book. The spine of the book is the most important yet the most vulnerable part. The ‘binding joins’ hold the book together by providing support to the pages and gluing the front and the rear covers. The pages are hinged to the spine such that they are held together.
The leather bound books are at much higher risk to loose sheen sooner than others. They need to be cared for, so as to keep them from cracking. Prior knowledge of the quality of leather, the tanning process and age of the skin may be of help. It is a known fact that leather produced before the 17th century is long lasting while the ones processed later than that, deteriorate much faster.
The humidity levels need to be checked and higher the humidity; lesser is the longevity of books. The library and book shelf must be free of moisture. Humidity below 40% dries up the leather while humidity of 68% will speed up the reaction of chemical deterioration of leather.
Light is a major factor that may lead to deterioration of books as excessive light takes away most of the color. In order to prevent this, books and book shelves should be kept at a place where there is minimal infiltration of sunlight. Applying petroleum jelly on the surface, offers protection to leather bound books and prevents them from drying and cracking.
The ideal temperature to store books is in the range of 65-70 degrees Fahrenheit. Exceeding the range will certainly lead to depletion of the quality of book cover. Storing all books in a cool and dry place is very important and few experts recommend the use of Acetate; a transparent and stable compound in maintaining books.
Preserving books is integral to book collection. These priceless treasures ought to be maintained with utmost care in order to conserve them for years. The fundamental tips mentioned above will go a long way in ensuring your books last longer and retain their original grandeur.