3.4 Taking care of materials

Materials need to be protected from damage by sun, heat, damp, rainwater, fire, dust, animals and insects. 

Humidity can cause materials to become mouldy. In dry climates, materials may be damaged by dust or termites. Air conditioning or good ventilation, and regular cleaning, will help to keep materials in good condition. Fresh air and cleaning will help to control infestation by silverfish. Materials can be protected from ants by placing the legs of shelves in tins of water or a mixture of kerosene and water. If eating and drinking is allowed in the resource centre, the resource centre must be cleaned thoroughly, so that food crumbs do not attract insects or rodents. If necessary, the usual household insecticides should be used. However, they should be used (if at all) at the end of the day, so that they will not be breathed in by users, and the resource centre should continue to be cleaned regularly, so that residues do not build up. 

Shelves should not be packed too tightly, as this prevents the flow of air, and can cause damage to materials when removing or re-shelving them.

Any materials that are damaged, but that are important to the collection and cannot be replaced, should be put in strong (labelled) envelopes to prevent further damage or loss of pages. 

TIP: How to dust books

Dust books and other printed materials by holding them spine upwards and flicking through the pages to dislodge the dust away from the pages. If you try to dust them by wiping the edges of the pages with a cloth, this can put the dust further into the pages.