Book Storage Tips for International Literacy Day

UNESCO (The United Nations Educational, Scientific & Cultural Organization) dubbed September 8th as International Literacy Day in 1965. Every year since then, UNESCO has used the day to highlight the importance of literacy to individuals and communities, drawing attention to worldwide literacy rates and adult learning.

We’re got some readers here at StorageMart, and books are among the most commonly stored items for our customers. In recognition of Literacy Day, we wanted to take the chance to provide some tips for proper book storage.

The first thing you’ll need to consider for book storage in the environment. Extreme temperatures can be damaging to printed materials. High levels of humidity are even more dangerous. Too much moisture in the air can cause your books to warp, mold or mildew. Exposure to direct light can cause pages and covers to fade and make spines brittle. For all these reasons you should consider renting a climate-controlled storage unit for your library. By maintaining a constant, moderate temperature, outside of direct light, climate-controlled storage is ideal for book storage.

Before storing your books, you’ll need to make sure they’re clean. Dust and grime will transfer from book to the next over time. This can hasten mold and/or mildew growth or even attract pests. Take each book, hold it firmly closed (to avoid brushing dust and dirt between pages) and wipe down all surfaces of the book with a magnetic dry cloth.

Also be sure to remove all bookmarks, scraps of paper, flowers, paperclips or anything else stuck between the pages of your books. These items all contain acids which will damage the pages of your books over time.

When stacking books, alternate the direction the spines face. This will reduce pressure on all the spines and help keep them from breaking. Use uniformed boxes to make stacking easier and sturdier. Boxes designed specifically for packing and moving are available for purchase at all StorageMart locations and are ideal for safeguarding your books. When boxing up your books, use more, smaller boxes rather than larger ones. You’d be surprised at just how heavy a box full of books can be. Reducing the weight of each box will make moving much easier on your body.

Label all your boxes. If possible, keep a list of all books attached to the outside of the box. This will make retrieving a particular book much easier.

As much as you can, store all boxes off the ground. Concrete is porous. Over time moisture can move up through the floor, so keeping as much as you can off the ground will reduce any threat to your books. Wooden pallets on the ground are ideal for storage units.

Once your boxes are all stored, check on them monthly. Look for any signs of pests, moisture or damage to the boxes.

Any bibliophile would of course prefer to have their own personal library, where all their books are on display and available for easy picking at any time, but most of us just don’t have that kind of space in our home. So until you do have your own library, storage is really the only option that allows you to keep both your books and the convenience of living in an uncluttered home. Following these steps will help ensure your books are in tip-top condition when it’s time to get them back on your shelves.