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Subject: Longterm storage of books

Longterm storage of books

From: Shannon Zachary <szachary>
Date: Wednesday, March 13, 2002
Sharon Connell <s.a.connell [at] leeds__ac__uk> writes

>I received this from a colleague:
>   "A friend has asked me for advice about packing up for perhaps
>    year-long storage the many hundreds, possibly thousands, of
>    books she and her husband own.

I heartily concur with others' recommendations to choose a storage
location that is cool and dry. Pack the books in clean, sound
cardboard boxes and seal the boxes against dust, but do not put
either books or boxes in plastic bags (sudden changes of temperature
can cause condensation to collect within the plastic). Several
companies sell acid-free boxes and wrapping/packing paper for
archival storage; using acid-free materials becomes more important
the longer the books will be in storage.

Two important measures involve no cost:

    1.  Books should be packed flat or spine *down*, never spine up.
        (If a book rests on its fore edge, the entire weight of the
        book is suspended from the joints--which are already the
        most vulnerable part of the mechanics of a book.) Make sure
        the books are not leaning or unevenly supported--if a book
        is forced into a distorted position for a year will come out
        permanently lopsided.

    2.  Leave at least four inches of clear air space between the
        boxes and any wall or floor (place the boxes up on pallets).
        The air space will discourage minor incursions of both
        insects and water. While this buffer space won't prevent
        damage from major floods or insect attack, it is the minor
        incidents that are by far the most likely to occur. If the
        storage area has fire sprinklers, leave 18 inches clearance
        between the boxes and the ceiling. Stack the boxes in
        basketweave fashion, rather than one precisely on top the
        other, to reduce the chance of the whole pile tumbling over.

If it's possible, have someone check the storage area periodically
for signs of damp, water leaks, insects, or rodents. Select a
conservator before you leave and have contact information available
for that person to act quickly if a problem develops.

Shannon Zachary
University Library,
University of Michigan

                  Conservation DistList Instance 15:63
                  Distributed: Tuesday, March 19, 2002
                       Message Id: cdl-15-63-007
Received on Wednesday, 13 March, 2002

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