Safe Methods for Repairing and Preserving Good Books

Presented by: Pat Wagner

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Program Number: BL 212

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Books are complex structures, made of fragile materials. Professionals might use highly toxic chemicals to clean and restore precious artifacts in museums and archives. But people who care for private collections and circulating libraries need to use benign chemicals. People lick their fingers when they turn pages, you know.


  • Introduction: Why Are Books Hard To Repair?
  • The Key Idea: Cleaning Books Can Hurt More Than Help
  • Preventing Damage: Dealing With Heat, Moisture, And Mold
  • Protecting Books From Insects
  • Smoke And Water Damage: Sunlight And Freezers
  • Safe Cleaning Materials: The Lighter The Better
  • When Not To Repair A Book


  • Prevent the most common forms of damage.
  • Use nontoxic materials for cleaning and repairing.
  • Avoid office supplies that can hurt valuable books.

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