the dont’s 


When building and preserving your library, there are some important “dont’s” to remember. Following these tips will help ensure your books longevity and preservation for years to come. Most of the following lists are just common sense, although you will find many that you haven’t heard about and some that will surprise you…

#1 – 10

  • Don’t write in your books in ink.
  • Don’t lick your fingers to turn pages. Saliva breaks down organic materials and causes mold.
  • Don’t put tape of any kind on your binding or pages of your book.
  • Don’t loan your books to others.
  • Don’t handle your books with dirty hands.
  • Don’t eat or drink near your books.
  • Don’t display your books on or near windows, strong UV rays, or spotlights.
  • Don’t let the mist from a central humidifier system spray directly onto your books.
  • Don’t place your books in the path of any hot air, such as air ducts.
  • Don’t pull books from shelving by their headpiece or headband.


  • Don’t carry too many books at one time.
  • Don’t overweight a shelf with books.
  • Don’t have too high or low humidity.
  • Don’t have the temperature above 72°.
  • Don’t separate or breakup your sets of books when displaying.
  • Don’t have shelves with tacks, staples, or sharp objects that will damage your books.
  • Don’t overpack your book shelf.
  • Don’t let books dangle over the edge of your bookshelf.
  • Don’t place your books on any shelving with rough or tacky surfaces.
  • Don’t lay books down flat on their boards for storing.


  • Don’t lay books on their fore edge or spine.
  • Don’t handle books with very long fingernails – they will gouge and damage the leather.
  • Don’t let dirt, dust, or grime remain on your books.
  • Don’t use any chemicals to clean your books.
  • Don’t allow mold to grow on your books.
  • Don’t allow insects to invade your book perimeter.
  • Don’t leave unscreened windows open near your books – sunlight will fade the book.
  • Don’t place your books near any water source.
  • Don’t place your books near a fireplace opening.
  • Don’t allow your books to dry out. This will leave them hard and brittle.
  • Don’t set anything on your books. It could leave a permanent mark or stain.

Building private collections and appraising rare libraries since 1970