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Subject: Handling


From: Sharon Connell <libsac>
Date: Friday, November 17, 2000
I've been conducting training in handling procedures for our Special
Collections staff.  People wanted firm guidelines but two moot
issues emerged.  Namely, use of:

    1.  cotton gloves for reader handling and

    2. (Christopher Clarkson) foam book supports

I have some questions on these points.

1.  Use of cotton gloves

The recommendation re cotton gloves was to ensure their use with the
most vulnerable materials--photographs, illuminated books and
manuscripts, parchment and metallic objects.

However, the gloves were criticised on the grounds that they made
handling (e.g. page turning, picking up objects) awkward and could
therefore lead to mechanical damage.

I think it may be possible to concede on photographic or other
paper-based material so long as people's hands are clean and they
are discouraged from touching media.  But what of illuminated books
on parchment?

Should I suggest the use of cotton gloves in combination with a bone
folder to aid page turning; are latex gloves OK (aside from
potential allergy)? Are there alternatives we haven't considered?

2. Use of book supports

It was recognised that the foam book supports were beneficial, but
it was suggested they be used *only* for consultation of pre 1800
material (with the implication that this is somehow more worthy due
to its age/value) *or only* for leather-bound material because of
its relative vulnerability as measured against cloth-bound volumes.

I'm not a book binder so forgive my ignorance, but aren't some 19th
century bindings, just as vulnerable to damage because of the
inflexibility of the spine? I can't help feeling we shouldn't be
making distinctions or is that naive?

It would be really helpful to know how do other institutions deal
with these issues. Your comments would be greatly appreciated.

Sharon Connell
Conservation Unit
Brotherton Library
University of Leeds
Leeds LS2 9JT
+44-113-233 6375

                  Conservation DistList Instance 14:29
                 Distributed: Monday, November 20, 2000
                       Message Id: cdl-14-29-033
Received on Friday, 17 November, 2000

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