Essay Example on Books Protection

3 pages
590 words
University of California, Santa Barbara
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Department of Interior. Conserve O Gram: Care and Security of Rare Books. National park service, 1993. Retrieved 20 April 2017, from article looks at various ways which rare books and library materials in the museum can be secured and protected. It shows how rare books have the same value as other exhibits. Among the issues, it looks at is housing the collection, environmental conditions, preservation, binding, security considerations and museum personnel handling.

Housing the collection

Books are housed in equipment that are designed to support and protect them from wear and tear. The rate at which they deteriorate is reduced as abrasion, and structural damage is decreased. For security details, rare books should be accessible through proper control such as through locked glass fronts. Another method is metal shelving which is coated by enamel finish instead of wood as woods have acids that might migrate to the book. Instead, sealing can be used. Fragile books should be boxed in custom made boxes where they fit right while the containers should be acid-free and secured with waxed strings or magnetic tape. Books should not also slouch on the shelves. To achieve maximum protection, books should also be shelved according to their sizes while avoiding tight packing so that they can be retrieved without abrading the bindings.

Environmental protection.

It is important to monitor and control environmental conditions, to reduce the threat of deterioration caused on rare books. There should be recommended temperatures for storage of rare books which is between 18 to 21 degree Celsius. Fluctuation in temperatures can cause paper and binding damaging. Relative humidity that is recommended should also between 40% and 55% to avoid brittleness and mold and mildew growth. Foxing may also occur at high humidity. Shelving should also be ventilated to prevent mildew and mold growth. As ultraviolet rays break down papers and visible light fade color, ultraviolet filters and fluorescent light are preferred instead. Windows are therefore shaded or coated with an ultraviolet film to filter light. Air pollution is also harmful, and high-efficiency filters should be installed if the area has air pollution. Binding would also help to reduce the chances of the book coming into contact with the elements. The museum personnel should also make sure that there are good housekeeping practices and routine inspections for stored and exhibited books to reduce the risk of pest infestation.


Preservation involves keeping the books in the right form. For this reason, books and paper repair should not be done using glue, or tape adhesive as they leave a residue that further damage the material. Dust jackets should also be removed to avoid tearing, ragging and growth of mold under humid conditions. For rare books that are in constant use, it is then duplicated and the copy used for reference while the original is stored safely.

Security considerations

As theft in rare books increases, museum managers have to devise new ways to protect the collection. First is to make a proper identification of all rare materials and mark them for ownership and identification. Secondly, for the books to be secure, reading rooms should have controlled exits and entrances where users register and identify themselves and follow the rules of using the book. Staff should also be assigned to supervise their use. Researchers or any users should not be allowed to carry overcoats, packages or briefcase into the reading room.


Department of Interior. Conserve O Gram: Care and Security of Rare Books. National park service, 1993. Retrieved 20 April 2017, from

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