Friday, 22 April 2016

Shelves - best place to keep your books

The advantages to keeping hardcopy books on shelves are these:

  1. Everyone can see what you read. This is a good thing, as one should always talk about the books one enjoys. Now, if you are ashamed of what you read--afraid your friends will find out--maybe it's time to get new friends.
  2. Energy efficiency. What better way to insulate a house than by packing the walls with bookshelves?
  3. Happiness. Every time you glance at your books, you'll be reminded of the lovely stories you read therein. This is good for the soul.
  4. One of the best ways of storing books. Unless you're archiving rare or damaged books, bookshelves are one of the best ways of storing books long term.
    Books should stand upright, never leaning. If you can't stand books upright, stacking horizontally is the second best way. Never rest a book long-term on its spine or (heaven forfend) fore edge. Also, keep out of sunlight, away from humidity and keep the dust and insects away. Silverfish are a bane to books, as is mold and mildew. The airflow is good on a shelf. Books need airflow or they get musty.
Her Grace has a house full of bookshelves, and is planning on building more.


Deborah Weber said...

We have countless bookshelves in our house, but I always dream of a huge dedicated library in a lovely old manor. Alas I might never leave - they'd find my skeleton propped in a comfy overstuffed chair surrounded by books. Charming post and good points about the care of books. I have a friend who just discovered mold on her bookshelves - what a heartbreak.

Her Grace, Heidi, the Duchess of Kneale said...

Mold can be devastating for books. If one has a mold issue, one of the best things you can do is remove the books from the shelves, wash the affected area, then wipe down the whole shelf with an antibacterial soap and don't rinse it off. Let dry completely, then reshelve the books. If the books themselves have mold, they can be treated.

Airing the books out in the sun for a few days (turning the pages frequently so every page gets a dash of sunlight) will help kill mold spores. UV light is so good for that. However, don't leave them out in the sun too long, as the light can cause the paper to yellow.

To prevent further mold growth, it helps to reduce the humidity where the books are stored. You know those little humectant anti-moisture packages found in food packets and shoe boxes? Use those behind the books to help absorb moisture.