February 13, 2011

Fighting the Good Fight Against Bookshelf Dust

The battle never ends. Check it out.

"The most effective dust management starts before a book ever reaches the shelf. "When I buy a book, I will carefully open it and slam it shut several times," he said. "Sometimes these big balloons of dust will cascade to the floor." This is where dust belongs, he said, down at vacuum level. Next, "you sort of riffle the pages." Finally, he will run a dry paintbrush along the edges.

As protocols go, it's a good one, Garner said. Yet at the same time he is dusting his books, many thousands of them are turning to dust. Acid paper, which was ubiquitous between 1870 and 1970, "tends to self-destruct," he said.

There can be a gloom to antiquarian book collecting — the authors are dead, we are dying — and the dust doesn't help. Garner likes to place musty books of questionable provenance in the sun to cure. And he opens the windows and airs out the house every two weeks, preferably after a good rain has knocked down the dust outside."

2 comments:

Drew@CWBA said...

"There can be a gloom to antiquarian book collecting — the authors are dead, we are dying — and the dust doesn't help." I love that quote. How uplifting...LOL.

Paul Taylor said...

Drew -

I hear ya. My wife is constantly urging me to "thin the herd," which she thinks will lessen the dust....