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This Is Auburn Auburn University Libraries LibGuides

Library Preservation: Preservation at Auburn University Libraries

Library Preservation

Auburn University Libraries utilizes its human resources, technology and physical facilities to provide responsive library services and collections aligned with the educational, research, and outreach activities of the students, faculty, and staff of Auburn University and its land grant mission. Preservation of our collections is a key component of achieving our mission.

Preservation includes

* Environmental Monitoring & Control

* Security

* Digital Preservation

* Disaster Preparedness

* Shelving & Storage

* Conservation Activities including repair and rebinding

Basic Preservation Guidelines for Library Staff

Book Shelving

Proper shelving techniques are important to the maintenance of library collections. Books that are shelved incorrectly often need to be repaired because they have been pulled out of shape by gravity. All books should be shelved standing vertically, upright, and firmly supported on either side by books that are of the same size and not packed so tightly that it is difficult to remove a book from a shelf.

An oversized book should not be shelved on its fore edge (spine-up), because it causes the text block to loosen from its cover. Instead, it should be shelved with its spine down. Please notify a Library staff member if the book will not fit on the shelf in accordance to these policies. If a book still does not fit securely and comfortably on the shelf, it belongs in an oversized shelving area.

• All books will be shelved standing vertically, upright, and firmly supported on either side.

• All books should not be packed so tightly that removal will cause damage to a book.

• Oversized books will not be shelved on their fore edge.

• Oversized books shall either be shelved spine down or placed in the Oversize collection area. 


Wet Books

Wet books have the potential to be a mold threat.  Wet books can be very fragile and should be handled carefully and dried completely before re-shelving.   Always notify a Library staff member when you come across a wet book.

·         If a book is returned moist or wet, inspect it carefully for mold and mildew. If any spotting or staining is found, please refer to the mold/mildew policy.  If the book is wet but no mold/mildew damage is apparent, set the book aside so that it may be fully air-dried before re-shelving.     

·         If you find a section of wet books among the shelves, immediately contact your supervisor. The building manager and preservation officer will need to determine the source of the water and extent of the damage.  Library staff will direct the recovery effort, either moving materials from the affected area or placing plastic sheeting over the affected area until materials can be moved.



Mold and Mildew

Mold is a major threat to library collections. It can also be hazardous to your health.  If you notice mold or mildew anywhere in the building, on books, furniture, ceiling tiles, or flooring, notify your supervisor or a Library staff member immediately.   Your supervisor will contact the library building manager and preservation officer.   If you come across a book with mold or mildew, do not re-shelve it and do not place it among other library materials.  Place the book in a bag or enclosure then notify your supervisor.  Do not handle the book or attempt to wipe off the mold.


 Food and Drink

Always follow your department’s food and drink policy.  While your department  may permit drinks and small snacks in work spaces, please keep food and drink away from library materials.  Food and food trash attract insects and other pests. Spilled drinks can cause damage.  Dispose of food trash in your staff kitchen area if possible.  Do not place drinks or food on library shelving or on book carts.  Clean up any spills immediately.



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Greg Schmidt
RBD Library -Ground Floor
Special Collections and Archives
(334) 844-1736