Caring for Books and Paper


Preserving Works on Paper: Manuscripts, Drawings, Prints, Posters, Maps, Documents

Library of Congress

Based on LC’s preservation procedures, this leaflet includes best practices on how to protect family collections and flat paper objects in small research libraries from damage. Most advice is preventive and includes low or no-cost ideas such closing drapes to reduce the risk of light damage.

The Care and Preservation of Documents and Works of Art on Paper

The Henry Ford

The Henry Ford, Benson Ford Research Center has developed some Preservation Fact Sheets for the museum community, most on the care of objects and buildings, with several on the care of paper collections. This one provides some fundamentals about the problems inherent in paper and media that can cause collections to be fragile or unstable.

Caring for Your Artwork

Smithsonian Museum Conservation Institute

The McMichael created this FAQ to assist individuals with caring for home collections, focusing most specifically on caring for works of art on paper. Includes an excellent outline on displaying objects, as well as best practices for framing.

Storing Archival Paper Based Collections

Connecting to Collections Care

Connecting to Collections Care is continually evaluating resources that will be of use to smaller cultural institutions to help you readily find information on all aspects of the care and management of your collections.


Care, Handling and Storage of Books

Library of Congress

Based on LC’s preservation procedures, this leaflet includes best practices on how to prevent damage to home libraries and books held in small research libraries. Two additional leaflets on book care: Asian Bindings and Leather Dressing.

Caring for Your Treasures: Books

American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works

This guide is one of almost a dozen summary resources on the care of family heirlooms and works of art made available by AIC, a national membership organization for conservation professionals. This guide offers practical advice for preventing damage to books, including proper handling, shelving and storage conditions, and is a good overall introduction to best practices for both private collectors and curators.

Basic Preservation Guidelines for Library and Archive Collections

The British Library National Preservation Office

Authored by the Head of the National Preservation Office at the British Library, this 14-page booklet is one in a series prepared as an introduction to preservation for those managing libraries and archives in all types of institutions. A full list of titles is available at

Good Handling Principles and Practice for Library and Archive Materials

The British Library National Preservation Office

This booklet is designed to instill good handling practices at all varieties of libraries and archives for both staff and patrons. Included are guidelines for managing supervised research rooms, tips for retrieving materials from storage, and detailed guidelines for shelving.

Canadian Conservation Institute

This six-page leaflet addresses the care of rare and unique books held in libraries, archives, museums and private collections. Topics of interest include how to safely dry clean a book and the problems and possible options associated with caring for leather bindings.

For more resources see the IMLS Guide to Online Resources.