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“Use or AbUse? The Library’s Books are in Your Hands” Exhibition


    The University of Delaware Library announces the exhibition “Use or AbUse? The Library’s Books are in Your Hands” which will be on display through December 15, 2006 in the Information Room on the first floor of the Hugh M. Morris Library, University of Delaware, Newark. The exhibition was curated by Susan Maguire, Library Assistant in the Preservation Department.

    The deterioration of library materials is caused by natural elements such as temperature and humidity extremes, light, pollutants in the air, mold, and pests. Their detrimental effects are usually gradual, cumulative, and irreversible.  Some library materials deteriorate more quickly than others because they are made from materials that are inherently unstable, such as acidic paper, magnetic tape, and nitrate and cellulose-acetate base photographic film.  Natural disasters such as fires and floods, and building problems such as plumbing failures and roof leaks take their toll on library collections in a more immediate way.

    People also contribute to the deterioration of library materials.  Although wear and tear from normal handling and use is inevitable, much of the damage that occurs could be avoided. Although some damage to library materials is willful, most damage is unintentional, and is the result of uninformed or thoughtless practices on the part of those who are handling the material.

    Sometimes it can be difficult to tell at first glance whether a book is damaged from normal wear and tear or for some other reason.  Viewers are invited to guess whether damaged books on display are the result of normal use or abuse.  Answer keys are located inside each exhibition case. More information about the preservation of books or the Preservation Department is available at [www2.lib.udel.edu/Preservation/index.htm].

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