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Conservation FAQ's

What is the best way to handle a book so as not to damage it?

Do not life a book by its cover alone, as the cover, or "boards," cannot sustain weight. Take care not to drop a book; this will almost always strain its hinges.

I read that it isn't good to pull a book off the shelf from its spine. What is a better way to get the book I need?

Never pull on a book's head-cap but rather move its neighbors back slightly in order to grasp the book at mid-spine.

Is it OK to make photocopies of books?

Excessive flattening out on a copy machine puts sever strains on the spine. Even if the binding does not crack, it has been weakened along the hinges and at the spine. Be cautious!

How should I keep my home library so that my books are not harmed?

A book should rest in an upright position on its tail or lie flat, not leaning, so as not to put a strain on the hinges. If it is not possible to shelve a book upright, you may shelve it spine side down. A book should never rest on its fore-edge. A shelf should not be tightly shelved, but rather allow space to be able to pull the book off easily. Another important thing to remember is to keep books out of direct light - both sunlight and artificial.

What is a good way to mark pages that I want to find again?

Placing objects such as pencils or several thicknesses of paper inside the books puts severe strain on the spine. Sticky notes are fine to use on a short-term basis. Never write in books with permanent ink of any kind.

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