An old joke says that used bookstores are just what happens when a collection gets too big for a house. Well, now there’s a good happy medium option between large collection and bookstore-ownership: storage lockers.
- Climate Control
Books love a very specific climate. According to document conservation experts, the best environment for a book is between 30% and 40% humidity, with a stable temperature no higher than 20 degrees Celsius. Those parameters do not fit an attic or a basement, even finished or air conditioned ones. It is unlikely that even rooms on your main floor can keep the kind of climate that maintains old books.
This is especially important if you have older books. Older books are often made up of pulpy or cloth-bond paper, bound with natural glues. These degrade even faster than modern books when exposed to moisture. Older leather bindings also can crack easily, making a minimum humidity even more essential.
Cardboard boxes do not make for great long-term storage of even the most durable of goods, but are especially bad for storing fragile books. You could replace the cardboard with stackable plastic bins, but then you’d still have to shift stacks of boxes every time you want to get to a specific book. Instead, spring for some cheap shelves and assemble them before you start moving books over.
- Written Inventories
Things can sometimes get lost in a move, and with book collections, this can be devastating. After you have shelves set up, decide how many books to move into your unit. Then, make an inventory of all books you own, and work out which will be moved. Keeping a full inventory, not just of books you’re moving, but also of books that are staying, will help you prevent books from getting misplaced when you’re boxing everything up.
- Visit Once a Month
Things can shift in storage, leading to books falling off shelves onto the ground, where they wick moisture up from. Rarely, outbreaks of silverfish and bookworms can also threaten your collection. Though climate control means that problems will develop slowly, it’s still a good idea to check on things every month to be on the safe side. This is also a great opportunity to “check out” some books for you, your friends, and your family.