Protect Rare Books Using These Top Considerations


Libraries provide a huge service to communities. Many academic and specialty libraries serve the larger literary community by preserving rare books and first editions. Library insurance protects against financial loss, but these tips can help preserve those rare books for future generations.

Lay Flat

Place 3-inch or wider books flat. Tall books over 18 inches should also lay flat on the shelf. Avoid stacking more than three high. As referenced on, libraries have valuable assets with unique risks.

Size Groupings

Place books on the shelf next to similar-sized books. Avoid packing books tightly together. Have the books close enough for support yet far enough away to easily pull a book off the shelf without the binding rubbing.

Humidity Control

The paper in books can turn brittle in dry conditions. Many book bindings are made of leather which cracks when dried out. To preserve those rare books, a humidity-controlled area can help them last years longer. Ventilation can help decrease mildew and mold that can damage the delicate materials.

Shelf Locations

Provide the shelving systems with enough space not only between each other but between them and the walls to allow for air to circulate around them. Outside walls can allow damp temperatures to negatively affect the books stored.

Rare books are only one valuable asset protected by library insurance. A comprehensive plan allows the library to continue offering a necessary service to the community.

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