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Shelving Books: An Ounce of Prevention

Careful storage and handling of books can prevent costly repair, rebinding and replacement. Store books out of direct sunlight in an area with good air circulation, away from unprotected windows and outside walls and at least 3 or 4” off the floor. Wooden shelving may produce acidic offgasing; therefore steel shelving with a powder-coated paint finish is the most stable and practical storage choice. Shelving with canopy tops will deflect dust, water and some light. Books should be shelved upright, resting squarely on their bases. Use book supports (bookends) to hold books upright. Book supports with side flanges will prevent the possibility of “knifing” the text block with the edge of the book support. To shelve a book, move the book support aside to create a space, insert the book and then readjust the support. To remove a book from the shelf, push back the books on either side and grab the book by its' covers, never by its' headband or spine. Store oversize books flat or spine-down.