How Can Library Users Help Preserve Library Materials?

Observe the "no food" policy. Food and food trash attract insects and other pests that feed on library materials.
Spills also cause damage.

When photocopying tightly bound or older, fragile volumes, use one of the edge copiers in the Library. Forcing volumes to lie flat can damage the binding.

Pulling a book by the headcap can tear the cover

The book on the left has headcap damage

Push the other volumes back slightly then grasp the one you want by the middle
Remove a book from the shelf by pushing back the one on each side and grasping the needed one by the middle, rather than by pulling from the top of the spine. The cloth or leather at the top of the spine is not that strong, and repeated pulling from the top of the spine eventually causes damage.
Protect books from getting wet. If a book does get wet, bring it right away to the Circulation Desk. If caught quickly, Preservation staff can dry the book under controlled conditions to keep mold from growing, and reduce swelling that occurs when the pages and binding get wet.
Do not try to carry too many books at a time, or try to remove too many at once from a shelf.
Never write in a library book or underline passages Never remove illustrations from library books Don't remove text pages either!

Use a bookmark to keep your place rather than laying an open book face down, turning down the corners, or using post-it notes, paper clips, or other objects.
Return books at the Circulation Desk whenever you can, instead of using a book drop. In a book drop, books can land in an open position, and are damaged as other books pile on top of them.


Thank you for your efforts to help preserve the Library's collections. Click here for additional information on proper handling and storage of a variety of library materials. Please contact me for further information on preservation issues.

Head, Preservation Department
University of Delaware Library

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Last modified: March 16, 2009