Rare books should be stored to prevent damage. The best way to store them but also keep them secure and accessible is on a shelf.
If storing them on shelves, the best choice rust-free metal. If you wish to store them on wooden shelves, you must first seal the wood with a water-borne polyurethane varnish to prevent acids transferring from the wood to the book. Oak shelves are a poor choice for storing rare books, as they are very acidic.
Be sure to ventilate shelves to prevent mold and mildew. Shelves should be at least an inch away from the wall to allow air to circulate. Be sure the shelves are not against an outside wall, as the damp temperatures can damage the book. Use solid book ends to keep the books standing up. Store larger and heavier books flat but not stacked, which can cause damage.
Rare books that are very fragile should be stored in custom-made, acid-free book boxes that are sized to each book. You can make them from pre-cut bond stock or buy them ready-made. The ready-made boxes have four flaps surrounding the book and are sealed with some type of string, magnetic tape, or Velcro. The box should cover the entire book, including the spine.
Be sure to store books in a clean place with an even temperature, low humidity, and little light. Attics, basements, and closets on exterior walls are poor choices for storage. Attic temperatures can be too warm; basements can be cold and are prone to moisture, flooding, and mildew; and closets on the exterior walls do not have even temperatures. The best storage temperature is between 60-70°F.
Rare books should be handled and stored with care to preserve their condition.
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