Air moisture is bad for your books, Protect Them!
The end of the year in Malaysia is usually a rainy season. While I enjoy the cooler weather, the rainy season means high humidity. That also means that our books are at risk.
High humidity can cause binding warping, paper curling, pages sticking together, mold growth, and insect activity. Protecting them is critical for them to have a long and healthy life.
When dust reacts with moisture in the air, it leaves ugly brown spots on the book edges. In short, humidity is an enemy of books. If you would like to keep your books in great condition, it pays to store them well and keep them away from high humidity. Here are some storage guidelines that will help protect your books from damage from humidity. Let’s go!
>> Plastic containers
Storing books in plastic containers is a good way to protect against dust but many people tend to forget that whatever keeps away moisture also traps moisture within. Because air moisture is everywhere and gets trapped easily in plastic boxes. If you store your books this way, ensure that you open the boxes regularly so the books can breathe. Good ventilation goes a long way. Silica gel can help to reduce this issue, colour changing gel helps you know if there is moisture trapped within your containers.
>> Bookcase with doors
Same with storage in plastic containers, the key is to open the doors frequently to allow good air circulation.
>> Ziplock bags
For those who like to display their favourite books in the open, a ziplock bag is an alternative to protect against dust. To reduce moisture getting trapped in the bag, pop in a pack of silica gel for good measure. You can recycle the ones you find in food and other packaging.
>> Carton boxes
This is acceptable as a temporary solution like moving, but a big no-no as a long term storage option. Moisture can seep into the box easily, turning the box into an attractive breeding ground for insects and mold.
>> Open shelves
Open shelves allow good ventilation but the books can get dusty easily. Dust your books weekly to prevent the appearance of brown spots caused by the reaction of dust with moisture. Avoid keeping your shelves outside a bathroom or beside the balcony where moisture can seep through the wall.
>> Moisture Absorber
How about putting a tub of Thirsty Hippo in the plastic container and closed-door bookcase? Won’t that solve the trapped moisture problem? On the contrary, leaving a moisture absorber in a closed environment is potentially keeping more moisture inside. Once a moisture absorber reaches its full capacity, which is pretty quickly in our climate, it is basically a tub of water sitting in your bookcase/plastic box causing more damage to your books! Unless you check on the hippo once a week (which I keep forgetting to do!), it is not recommended to keep one near your precious book.
>> Air Conditioned Room
Keeping your books in an air-conditioned room with little or no sunlight is the best storage option to protect your books, but that is a luxury that many of us can hardly afford. Books are precious and well-taken care of books can be passed on to many readers before meeting their fate at getting binned. Follow the storage method above and may your books live a long and spotless life!
Protecting your books is great, but remember reading them is better, even if they have lost their “Like New” feeling, as long as you can read the words, you still have 100% of the magic a book can offer 😀