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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

Preventive Preservation

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LEAFLET-Student Training

General Preservation Information

Preventive preservation is an integral component of the day-to-day operations of Memorial Library.

All staff have the responsibility to ensure the longest possible useful lifespan of the entire collection. This is true for no other reason than to protect the institution’s capital investment of those materials. If you have not had the opportunity to view the Youtube video “Murder in the Stacks,” we recommend you take the time to do so. This video will demonstrate reshelving, removal of books, loading book carts, enforcement of food and drink policy and book inspection.

Here are some tips you can follow:

  1. Encourage good photocopying practices:
    • Never open a volume more than 180 degrees.
    • Do not exert pressure on the spine of the book.
    • Do not allow books to be left on top of photocopier because they can be damaged by heat.
    • Tightly bound, fragile, and rare material should not be copied on a flatbed copier.
    • Some copying is better suited for copiers where the book is supported in a cradle at the angle of its opening. These copies work well for tight volumes, or narrow margin books.
  2. While working in a collection, you may see library materials in trouble. Please report the problem to your supervisor. Examples would include insect or rodent infestations, over crowdedness, and dampness.
  3. Book repairs are done by trained staff and never should someone attempt a quick fix with scotch tape. It may be necessary for a book that is in poor condition to continue to circulate now and go to mending later. Your supervisor will instruct on what to do.
  4. Clean hands are essential. Allow hand lotion to dry thoroughly before touching materials.
  5. Carry only a few books at a time. Carts are available for library materials and they vary in size.
  6. Protect books from food, drink, water and dirt. If you bring food into the building, please do so discreetly. Snacks should not be eaten in the work areas and drinks should be covered.
  7. When transferring books, it might be necessary to grip the books with two hands rather than using the pinch grip. This will prevent strain on your hands and wrists which can happen while handling or shifting lots of books.
  8. When using tattle tape in the spine, don’t force it. It could break through the book cloth. Also, be sure to pull the tattle tape all the way to the middle of the spine. If any is left out or exposed, it can easily cut someone.