David L. Rice Library

FAQs About Preservation

Can you repair my books?

No, we are not able to perform work on any materials except those owned by the Library. We may, however, be able to give you an idea of whether something is repairable and may be able to assist you in locating a book conservator in this area.

Can you bind something for me?

No, we are not able to bind any materials. Consult the Yellow Pages for a local bindery.

I have an old newspaper clipping. How can I take care of it?

Newsprint has a short lifespan. If you really want to save the original newspaper, keep it flat, dry, and out of the light. This will extend its life somewhat, but newsprint will not last long unless the acid content of the paper is controlled through the chemical process of deacidification. If you want the information instead of the actual newspaper, make a photocopy on acid-free permanent "archival" paper.

My books got wet. What can I do?

Wipe off as much moisture as you can. If pages remain a bit damp, fan them open in a dry place and let them stand. Put an electric fan nearby to help keep the air circulating. If the book belongs to Rice Library take the book to the library circulation desk so the library staff can evaluate the damage and act accordingly. If your books are damaged by a flood or a burst sewer pipe, the damage may be repairable but the costs of cleaning the soil will be high. Please note, if you are responsible for loss or damage of a library item, you will be expected to pay for the replacement or repair of the item.

What's wrong with Post-It Notes?

The adhesive in Post-It Notes transfers immediately and permanently to paper materials. You can't see the adhesive, but it's there. Over time, adhesives react and change in ways which are frequently detrimental to library materials. The paper quality is poor and if left in the book, will eventually damage the pages.

Why can't I eat in the library?

Food and drink spills have short-term and long-term effects for library materials. It's easy to see a coffee stain, but pretty hard to get rid of it. Long-term effects may be harder to see but can be very destructive and costly for the library. For example, if a cup of water is spilled over a book and the book is put back on the shelf while damp, the dampness is a host environment for mildew which requires expensive chemical treatment for control. Mildew can also cause respiratory problems in people. Food and drink also attract vermin such as roaches, rats, and mice..