Guidelines and TIps
In response to solicited questions, the TS-SIS Preservation Committee has compiled this list of resources.
- Repairing the Spine of a Book
- Tipping-in loose pages
- Restoring a book:
Search for a local bookbinder using a search engine or recommendations from a local library, museum, or archive. If you locate a bookbinder through an internet search, we recommend requesting references before leaving your book with them.
Several publications provide an introduction to the environmental needs of libraries, museums, and archives:
- Temperature, Relative Humidity, Light, and Air Quality: Basic Guidelines for Preservation
(Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC))
- The Environment-Low Cost/No Cost Improvements in Climate Control
(Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC))
- The Realistic Preservation Environment
(National Archives and Records Administration (NARA))
- Getting Function From Design: Making Systems Work
(National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)). Information on HVAC systems.
- Environmental Guidelines for the Storage of Paper Records [PDF: 1.78 MB / 27 p.]
(National Information Standards Organization [NISO]). Useful information on parameters such as temperature, relative humidity, light intensity, gaseous contaminates, and particulates levels.
- To further assist in formulating a preservation plan, the Image Permanence Institute (IPI) hosts a free Dew Point Calculator to give you an idea of the potential rate of deterioration your existing environment might be causing on your collection. Other free publications can be downloaded from their site as well.
Displays and Storage
- Environmental factors, including temperature, humidity, and lighting (both artificial and natural) need to be kept in check when planning an exhibit to ensure the items being displayed are not damaged. General information on exhibits can be located under the "Display" heading of the Library of Congress' Protecting Your Family Treasures Everyday. Additionally, the Library of Congress offers a Guide to Preservation Matting and Framing. Two resources for more detailed information are the ANSI/NISO Z39.79-2001 standard Environmental Conditions for Exhibiting Library and Archival Materials and Protecting Paper and Book Collections During Exhibition from the Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC).
- Further information about the Library of Congress' exhibit policies and practices can be found in "Displays: The Role of Preservation in Exhibitions at the Library of Congress" (pp. 73-96 of the IFLA 2006 international symposium proceedings: The 3-D's of Preservation: Disaster, Displays, Digitization).
Plastic Containers and other storage options
- Plastic containers are an acceptable solution if you can guarantee that the book(s) and storage environment are (and will remain) dry. Be aware that if this cannot be guaranteed mold growth is a serious concern because plastic containers restrict air circulation.
- Your choice of plastic is also important; be sure to use containers made of plastics that are not going to harm the materials. These include polyethylene (PE), Polypropylene (PP), Polystyrene (PS), or Polyester (Polyethylene terephthalate) (PET). The American Chemistry Council maintains a Plastic Packaging Resins chart that notes plastic type by the recycling code stamped on many plastic materials. PVC (#3) and Other (#7) should be avoided for collection storage.
- The environmental conditions of the storage area are just as important as the container for the item. Avoid storing books in unstable environments such as attics and basements. The ideal storage environment, be it a storage facility or your workplace/home, is a climate controlled with a relative humidity of 50% or lower and a temperature of about 68 degrees.
- Also take a look at the Protecting Your Family Treasures Everyday mentioned above.
Archival Materials for all types of items
- Several organizations maintain up-to-date lists and databases of conservation suppliers and service suppliers:
- Suppliers List (Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC))
- Conservation Suppliers (Conservation Online (CoOL))
- Preservation Services and Supplies Database (LYRASIS)
- Supplies and Services Directory (Guild of Book Workers)
Locating a Conservator in your area
- A free referral service is maintained by the American Institute for Conservation. You may select the type of conservation service you need, identify your geographical area, and receive a list of local conservators.
- For further information, see the publication Choosing and Working with a Conservator from the Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC).
Locating an Appraiser in your area
- You can find a professional appraiser through the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America. Their website features a Collector's Corner, advanced book searching capabilities, and a membership directory of appraisers indexed by subject and geographical area.
- To obtain an informal appraisal of your books, search the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers website. It also contains information about the rare book market, book fairs, and other related events.
- Auction catalogs are another indispensable resource for informal appraisals.
- A list of resources can be found at the Smithsonian Institute website. It includes a bibliography, professional contacts, and suggestions for selling valuable objects.
- It may also be helpful to check with universities, libraries and museums in your area for workshops, conferences, and other events connected with rare books.
- This publication from the Library of Congress identifies grants from $5,000 and up:
- National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Preservation Assistance Grants for Smaller Institutions funds up to $6,000 (for applications submitted in 2012):
- Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) available grants:
Northwestern University Library's Preservation Department
The policies and practices of this department are detailed at this website. Other libraries might find it useful to compare what they are doing with what Northwestern is doing in the areas of conservation, selector review, environmental monitoring, integrated pest management, disaster planning and recovery, digitization, Google Books, and education outreach.