Keeping “Old-Fashioned” Books Safe for Future Generations

“In the world of eBooks and iBooks, it’s easy to forget how to handle real books,” said Josh Nathan general education faculty at The Art Institute of Colorado.

The world has gone digital and content that used to only be available on sheets of paper in a bound book you bought from the bookstore or borrowed from the library is now accessible through countless platforms.

Yet even with technological advances, some readers still prefer the tangible nature of actually being able to hold a book in their hands.Who can blame them? It’s what we’ve done for centuries, and then there’s that comfort of knowing no technological glitch will make you lose access to the book or lose the place at which you were last reading.

However, “old-fashioned” books are made of paper and other easily damaged materials, which disintegrate over time. Specific procedures must be followed in order to ensure their safety.

In order to help keep books in one piece, Nathan suggests creating book covers much like the ones from primary and secondary school with brown paper bags.

“You reinforce a book’s binding that way, too,” he said.

Although many people buy books so they can read them again and again, new books still accumulate over time. So what do you do with them as your library grows?

“Store your books somewhere away from direct light and heat or moisture,” Nathan said.

He also argues an often forgotten point: Books are actually far less fragile than one’s kindle or iPad,which can easily shatter if dropped.

Magalie Rene, with Kid-Smart Spaces™, is a professional organizer/interior designer for schools, giving her a plethora of experience with book storage. Through her career, Rene has developed four main considerations for storing books: Temperature, light, position and packing materials.

“The temperature should be cool, and dry areas are best”, she explains, “away from HVAC systems and windows.”

Additionally, the books should receive no direct exposure to light of any kind, if it can be avoided.

“Keep books of similar sizes together so the front and back covers have maximum support,” Rene stressed. “Make sure they are laying flat and not leaning or angled.”

As for packing materials, store books in boxes, and for valuable, special books, wrap individually in corrugated cardboard for additional protection.

Whether it’s sentimental value the keeps you holding on to your tangible books or the flexibility of being able to read anywhere without needing a charge, these tips should help keep these valuable stories in prime condition.

Melanie Hess

Melanie Hess

Melanie Hess is a writer and public relations specialist based in Dallas, Texas. She has an extensive background in both web and print writing and has successfully completed projects for both small and large business, including nonprofits, real estate, automotive, education and more .Melanie holds industry-related bachelor's and master's degrees. Her interests range from creative storage and moving on a budget to and start-ups and healthcare.
Melanie Hess

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