Since coming to the APRL, I’ve learned that many philatelists have extensive personal libraries. Here are a few tips for storing your literature collection as safely as your stamp collection:
- The ideal environment for books and documents is free of dust and pollutants, not exposed to sunlight or bright artificial light, and has moderate temperature and humidity.
- Avoid storing your library in an attic or basement if possible. These spaces are often prone to excessive heat and moisture.
- Avoid storing books in spaces exposed to direct sunlight or bright light.
- Store unbound documents and newspapers flat in boxes.
- Binding can help preserve journals or loose manuscripts, especially if they will be used frequently.
- Store clippings and other small items unfolded in folders.
- Avoid excessive handling of fragile books and documents.
For more detailed information about caring for specific types of materials, see the following resources from conservation experts:
Books: Caring for Books, from the American Institute for Conservation, provides detailed information on the best ways to store and use books.
Documents and clipping files: The Northeast Document Conservation Center has a detailed guide to caring for documents, including information on photos, letters, clippings, and other specific media, as well as a link to a supplier database.
Newspapers: Most newspapers printed during the late 19th century and after were printed on cheap paper which breaks down and becomes brittle over time. The Library of Congress has a guide to newspaper preservation.