It’s a cruel fact, but sometimes in the course of our library adventures, bad things happen to good books. Here are a few first aid tips to help us keep our library collection healthy and looking good.
Use a Proper Bookmark
Folding down the corner of pages or using a paperclip causes unsightly marks, as well as weakens the paper, encouraging tears. There’s nothing better to mark your page than a trusty bookmark. If you need one, we have bookmarks at our reference desks advertising our many library programs and services that are just waiting to go out.
Keep Books in a Safe Place
Books should be kept out of reach from pets and infants, and away from crayons, pencils, and markers. If you find a torn or chewed page, resist the urge to place tape on it! Apart from looking ugly and drawing attention to the damage, most tapes contain acid that damages books. If you tear a page or notice a tear, the best way to notify us of any damage is to put a sticky note in the item right when you see the damage, so you don’t forget about it, and add a note telling us if the damage was already there or if it may have happened while you had the item. (If you don’t have a sticky note, you could use regular paper and a rubber band.) Once you’ve done this, put the book in the book drop, and we can catch the damage and know whether or not we should contact you.
Don’t Write in Books
Some people like to underline passages or add notes in books, which is perfectly fine if you own the book, but please do not mark or write in any library books, even in pencil. The marks can be very distracting to other readers and can ruin the book’s appearance. Post-it Notes, notebooks, and online bookmarking tools are just a few resources that you can use instead of writing in a book. Just remember to remove any Post-it Notes before returning your book to the library. If you find pencil marks or make pencil marks in a book, let us know with a sticky note message so our trained mending staff can do the erasing.
Keep Books Dry
It’s a good idea to bring a bookbag (we sell them for $6 if you need one) or ask for a sack on rainy or snowy days. Avoid placing your library books near water hazards at home, such as kitchens, bathrooms, outdoors, or near plants that get watered. If a book comes in contact with water, place the book in a plastic bag and put it in the freezer. Bring the book to the library when it is frozen and we will do the rest. If we get the book while it is frozen or is still wet, there is a better chance we can prevent mold and warped pages to save it.
Food, Drink, and Books Don’t Mix
Accidents can happen, even to adults, and finding stains in a library book can be an unpleasant and unsanitary experience. If you find spots or stains in a book, or if you spill something on the book, let us know which pages are affected on a sticky note message attached to the item. (Starting to see a pattern here?)
Report Previous Damage
If you find damaged books or library items, tell us so we can fix them before further damage occurs. Please keep all parts and return to the library for proper repair. Remember, if a book is lost or damaged, it is best to report it or return it promptly to avoid unnecessary fines. Please call the library if you have any questions.
Nobody is perfect when it comes to book first aid, but it’s important for all of us to do our best to keep the library’s books looking good so others can enjoy them. And don’t worry; you won’t make our librarians angry if you damage a book. It makes us happy when you help us take care of our collection!