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5 Tips for Taking Care of Your Books

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5 Tips for Taking Care of Your Books

January 22, 2013

If you are a book lover and owner (like my husband, who collects fly-fishing tomes), you are, by default, a conservator. Here are five tools we use at home to protect our library.

For more ideas, see How to Protect Your Books at the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works. And if you have any genius tips, let us know in the comments section.

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• A hygrometer (shown above) is used to detect levels of humidity. My husband bought his from a cigar store in Chicago and strives for the opposite range of moisture that cigars enjoy. Cigars like humidity (think Miami, FL, at 65 percent), while books love low humidity levels, in the 30 to 40 percent range. Less than 20 percent humidity causes paper to become brittle and susceptible to cracking. Rule of thumb: if you are comfortable, your books are as well. A similar looking Analog Hygrometer is available for $11.79 from Amazon.

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• Keep your books dust-free with Lambswool Dusters made by the Wool Shop in Missouri, which come in three sizes, from $5 to $12, at West Elm.

Book Jacket Protectors (known in the book industry by their trade name, “Brodart”) preserve books and protect they from harmful UV rays. The covers start at $7.55, depending on size, from Brodart.

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Bone Paper Holders are used to apply pressure and crease the corners over dust jackets. This authentic knife-like device is indeed made of bone, but is now also alternatively available made from Teflon; depending on size, they start at $6.60 from Blick.

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• Books like a stable temperature (ideally, between 65 and 70 degrees Farenheit); during our recent remodel, we installed the Nest Learning Thermostat, which automatically adjusts your home’s temperature ($249 at the company's online store).

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