Service Description 

To help Harvard Library depositories and shared services locations ensure that all staff, students, and faculty preserve library collections by preventing damage whenever possible, The Weissman Preservation Center (for special collections) and Collections Care (for general and circulating collections) can advise on appropriate handling methods and provide training materials for staff and users. 

Training components include, but are not limited to:  

Handling library materials 

  • Library materials often become fragile with age, and most modern books are not manufactured to specifications that support the hard use they can receive through multiple circulations. Careful handling by staff, students, and faculty can help prevent damage to library collections.

  • Consult our Remote Consultation Recommendations for basic guidelines and recommendations to assist with remote communication within Harvard Library.

  • Test your knowledge with this online interactive tutorial on 10 Tips for Reading Room Success

Cleaning library materials 

  • Removing dust and dirt from stacks areas and library collections can eliminate a substrate that fosters mold growth under the right conditions, makes the stacks unwelcoming, and, for some people, creates an unsafe environment. Cleaning must, however, be done carefully to avoid damage to fragile materials. 

  • The Weissman Preservation Center (for special collections) and Collections Care (for general and circulating collections) can advise on appropriate cleaning equipment and methods, train staff members in their use, and advise on selection of a vendor for large cleaning projects. 

Moving library materials 

  • Moving library materials from place to place puts them at elevated risk for damage. Loading materials onto book trucks and wheeling them through the library, packing books in plastic bins for transport, and shifting plastic bins provide opportunities for damage or loss. 

  • The Weissman Preservation Center (for special collections) and Collections Care (for general and circulating collections) can advise on appropriate moving equipment and methods, train staff members in their use, and advise on the selection of a vendor for large moving projects.

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