Every book lover out there should know how to store books for the long run. Here are some techniques you can follow so you don't have to wonder which material is best for wrapping your books or what storage type is the best for preserving those beloved books.
Although it would be tempting to skip and just pack the books and look for the best storage solutions, you'd need to inspect your books for damaging dust and pests.
If you have tons of valuable books or special limited editions; you need to take some time to go through them with a brush to remove the dust from the covers and the pages. You'd also want to inspect for insect eggs on the individual pages.
Insect eggs are like tiny seeds, they might not look like much for your books, but once they hatch, they can ruin the books. Don't use bug spray or any bug repellant as it can damage the collection more. Just wipe and remove the traces of insect eggs before packing.
A moldy or mildewing book can affect other books in the storage. You'll need to air out books that feel damp or have a musty smell to avoid it. Make sure to have good air circulation to dry out any problematic areas. Proper humidity and temperature control are one of the golden rules when storing.
One of the reasons for dust jackets being included on hardcover editions is to protect them from debris and damage. If one of your concerns is to protect your books when they forgo long-term storage, consider purchasing covers or slips for dust jackets.
Acquiring suitable materials for your books is essential for storing your them in the long run. Avoid using newspaper or plastic bags. Newspaper is acidic, and plastic bags will trap moisture inside, threatening your precious library.
Instead, get a ream or two of archive paper. This paper is acid-free and will ensure that your books will be in excellent condition. You can also use bubble wrap but be careful as it can leave a dot pattern when wrapped too tightly.
Use archival boxes or secure storage totes for your personal Library's long-term storage. Cardboard boxes are not really an excellent choice to determine how to best store books for the long run. Plastic totes are great at protecting your books from physical damage and are also prone to trap moisture since the lids are an airtight seal.
The best way to store your books long-term is to keep them in a climate-controlled storage unit. Get units that are temperature regulates and provides protection against frequent fluctuations in temperature and humidity.
When left in an area prone to temperature fluctuations and extreme humidity, books can deteriorate rapidly, even if you follow all the other steps for optimal book storage. Therefore, professional climate-controlled storage is a must for serious book collectors.
If you don't have room for climate-controlled storage in your book collecting budget, determine the best place to store books in your home. Most likely, this will be an upstairs closet or similar temperature-regulated space.
We should always treat our books like they are our most prized possessions, and we would do anything to make their life last longer. Check out our options for self-storage for your personal Library.