Blog & Projects

Caring for Rare and Valuable Books

January 2012

We were recently asked to have a look at a collection of seven first edition Tolkein books for a client in London. The books were in good condition and were stored adequately well - behind glass and along an internal wall - however the owner was anxious about their exposure to UV light (which passes through ordinary glass) and the possiblity of damage from insects.

To address these concerns we carried out the following:

1. Each book was cleaned throughly to remove all dust.

2. They were then individually wrapped in archive grade acid free tissue paper.

3. The books were then individually packed in museum quality archving boxes specifically tailored to fit each one perfectly.

4. Finally we provided museum insect traps to put near the books so the owner can regularly check there is no increase in pest activity.

Obviously when you wrap and box a book it no-longer looks as aesthetically pleasing on the shelf. On this occasion our client was not overly concerned about this - his priorty was protection - so in order to label the boxes we simply put an image of the original book's spine on the spine fo the achrcival box it was now stored in (see below).



We can also, however, provide bespoke archival book boxes for those clients who prefer them. (An example of a bespoke box is below.

The American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works has excellent advice regarding properly caring for books. 

For very detailed information take a look at The British Library's Preservation Advisory Centre