Take care of your books like you would yourself. With a little care, books can look a lot younger as they grow older.
If there was something called "Book Abuse" most of us would have been booked under it. Consciously or unconsciously most of us treat books with as much disrespect as we would our adversary. In the process, we send our books to the grave even before they reach adolescence. More often than not, books are subject to poor handling, harsh light, dust, insects, improper storage, food stains, water spillage and even used as coasters, whenever convenient. Books are borrowed and lent in abandon, almost like shuffling from one adoptive home to another. Books hold valuable information and have immense antiquarian value. They are also the most treasured collectibles.
Books are as sensitive as Homo sapiens : Maybe books can't talk, but they are as affected, by humidity, temperature fluctuations, insects, harsh light, dust and water damage. It's life depends upon a stable, cool, clean and non-humid environment. Temperature and Humidity
These are two sure causes for deterioration. High humidity promotes mold growth, dank smell of mildew, tiny brown spots called foxing, curled pages and attracts insects, whereas as extreme low humidity can dry out leather bindings. Books turn acidic over time, with higher temperature and moisture they turn acidic faster. Temperature fluctuations also take their toll on books. Preventive Measure: The ideal temperature for your books would be 68 degree Fahrenheit with about 50 percent relative humidity. An air-conditioner will do the job. First Aid: Use a dehumidifier to increase or lower the humidity as required. Mold growth only in the early stages can be dusted off, in the advanced stage can cause irreparable damage. Allow air to circulate around the books and a little sun can take care of the smell of mildew.
With rising levels of temperature and humidity come house pests or insects. Silverfish, cockroaches and mice love books like their own. Preventive Measure: Keep the storage area clean, free of food and garbage and air-conditioned. First Aid: Sprinkle boric acid powder around your books, not in or on them. In case of serious damage to your book collection, check with an entomologist.
Light and Dust
The ultraviolet rays of sun can permanently damage fading its leather or cloth jacket from blue to dull green and red to brown. Weakening and aging paper, brittleness and discoloration are the other side affects. Dirt and dust not only harm books, but also reduce their value. Preventive Measure: Always keep the blinds closed and store books away from sunshine. Keep the room as dark as possible. Dust and wipe books regularly with a soft and dry cloth or a feather duster.
Books stored in garages and near plumbing systems suffer the most, developing mold and mildew. Preventive Measures: Keep books in a dry area, away from dampness and windows during the monsoon months. First Aid: Open the book into a fan shape and place paper towels between the pages to soak in the moisture. Replace these periodically with dry towels. Place the books open near fans to allow for free air circulation. When half dry use a hair dryer to complete the drying process.
Few people pay heed to the way they handle, store or photocopy pages from books. Even fewer are affected by scribbling in them, which is almost akin to graffiti. Handling Books
Books are forced to lay unnaturally flat just to convenience the reader, pulled off the shelf from the top of its spine and interspersed with paper clips and folded page corners for future reference. Skin oil and perspiration stain paper and wet fingers weaken them. Preventive Measure: Always use clean and dry hands to handle books. Tightly bound books are better laid on a book support. Acid-free paper strips can be used for marking and not colored 'post-its.' Books should be free from rubber bands because they tend to curl and damage the paper. Rubber bands even melt slightly with heat sticking to paper. Never lay books face down.
Usually, either books are placed prettily in showcases for their aesthetic value or stored in boxes in a crammed attic or garage. Little regard is given to the right way of storing them. Overstuffing storage boxes cramp and crease, while under filling allows for sagging and bending of books and their covers. Preventive Measure: While shelving maintain a space of 3/8 inch between each book for easy removal. Stand books vertically on their bottom edges and place books of even heights and thickness together. Do not place books horizontally on a vertically arranged shelf. If storing in boxes, choose small boxes for convenience and to cut down stress and strain on the books. Store snugly in boxes. Seal the boxes with tape.
Photocopying has become such a necessary part of our lives, that we do not give a second thought to the damage it might do to books. Photocopying loosens the book jacket, crushes the spine and in the case of delicate material even loosens the pages. Preventive Measure: Never press down on the spine of books while photocopying, especially with large and heavy books. Do not lean your weight on the lid of the photocopying machine with the book beneath.
Few can resist writing their names in books and scribbling comments in the inside pages. This reduces its value significantly. Preventive Measure: Write with a light and soft pencil and keep your comments to yourself. Use a bookplate to label your books.
Some tips for younger, healthier books :
Keep fragile books in custom made boxes.
Avoid using adhesive and sticky tapes on books.
Do not use books as coasters.
To protect books from wear and tear use plastic dust jackets.
Creative photo framing ideas: here are some simple, fun suggestions on how to creatively frame your precious photographic memories!
Here are some creative ideas for photo framing. Who says that you have to actually use a frame? There are all sorts of interesting ways to present your favorite photos to the world (or at least your friends and family!). The next time you pass a junk store, whip into the parking lot with one goal in mind - FRAMES! Things you might find:
1. Old multi-paned windows. Great for several images. Rustic look.
2. Old boxes. Nestle your photo in the bottom of the box. Nail the bottom to the wall with picture hangers. Voila!
3. Old clear bottles. Make sure they are clean and dry, roll up the picture and drop it in! Make sure the bottle is large enough for the photo to unfurl. 4. Shadow boxes. Same idea as #2.
5. Old plates. Adhere the photo to the plate. Hang with plate hanger.
6. Old signs. Use part of the sign as the frame. Ex: Burpee Seeds - Carrots! Put your photo where the carrots should be. Hilarious.
7. Bulletin boards. Old ones are quaint and sometimes interestingly frames. Attach your photos in normal manner.
8. Old crates. Attach photos to the inside of the crate. Attach painting hangers to the back of the crate!
9. Any interesting piece of junk will accentuate a photo.
These are but a few of the creative ways you can spotlight your favorite photos. It may take a few tries before you find the perfect vessel for your pictures, but a little junk store rummaging never hurt anybody! Keep trying! You may actually get some ideas from other items in the store. Sometimes there are very unusual old frames on old, forgotten photographs that may be just the thing for you. The combination of old and new is always a winner in design circles.
Make sure that any glue you use to adhere your photos to these items is "photo-safe." Any craft store or photo shop will be happy to offer suggestions on the products that won't harm your precious images. Also, make sure that the surface to which you are adhering your picture is nice and clean and dry. This is very important as well, for you don't want to accidentally dirty or warp your pictures.
With a little determination and creative thought, you will soon have the most interesting photo gallery in the neighborhood. Good luck!
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