Preservation Storage for Books and Documents

General guidelines outlined in this video

  1. Only archival (chemically safe) materials, such as acid free folders, boxes, etc., should be used for housings. If you are unsure about the chemical composition of materials consult a conservator. 
  2. Avoid stacking and overcrowding books and paper items on shelves or in boxes as this can cause physical damage such as chafing, crushing, or tearing and can also cause chemical damage like the transfer of acid, dyes, or inks.
  3. In cases where storage environments cannot meet proper requirements, housings should be provided that create the desired microclimate (a box, exhibit case, or room where the climate within is different than the climate without).
  4. Housings should never be placed directly on the floor of storage. Ethafoam blocks or other inert risers may be used to raise floor level housings.
  5. When books and paper items are made of mixed media (i.e. scrapbooks, photo albums, etc.), the housing should strive to meet the needs of the most fragile medium present.
  6. Flat items should be stored in folders that are no less than 1 inch from the 3 open sides when the item is placed against the fold, i.e. there should be a minimum 1 inch gap between any edge of the item and the outer edges of the folder.
  7. Folders should be large enough to fill the box.
  8. Folders should not be smaller than the box. If the folder is smaller than the box, either the folder should be placed in a smaller box or the item within the folder should be placed in a larger folder.
  9. Flat items that are of high value or that are in fragile condition should be encapsulated. Encapsulation can be used not only to protect a valuable item but also to protect surrounding items from detrimental effects such as chemical damage like the transfer of acid, dyes, or inks.
  10. In the case of books in good condition, the book cover may be considered as appropriate housing.
  11. Books of exceptional value or in poor condition should be place in 4-flap enclosures or clamshell boxes.

For more videos like this, go to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints’ Church History page.

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