Course:3: Processing
Lesson:Lesson 3: Preservation
Topic:Bound Volumes

Bound Volumes


Do not pull volumes from the top, but support them from the bottom when removing them from shelves.The picture below illustrates both proper handling and "red rot."

woman lifting book with red rot

Use caution when turning pages.

Use book cradles and supports if possible.

Processing Tasks

Remove paper clips and staples.

Unfold pages that are folded down.

Use dust brush to remove excessive dirt and dust.

If you are storing in boxes, place volumes with the spine facing down.

If the volumes are small enough to be placed in acid free folders, label the folders.better book storage

If stored on shelves, fragile volumes should rest horizontally whenever possible to remove stress from the spine of the volume.
challenging book storage

Bound volumes

Definition icon
Red rot

Red rot is a condition that results when a leather binding ages without receiving adequate treatment. The leather surface chips off and the underlying desiccated layer powders off when lightly rubbed. Wrap affected volumes in acid-free paper until they can be treated by a conservator.

According to the Connecticut State Library Preservation Office, "Once a leather binding has deteriorated to the red dusty stage, called red rot, there is nothing that can save the original leather. The best solution here may be to put a polyester dust jacket on the cover to protect you and the adjacent books from getting covered with the red dust. If a leather cover is in the early stages of red rot a proper storage environment can increase its longevity."


Resources icon

LEARN MORE NEDCC Conservation Treatment Options for Bound Materials
of Value
. Click here.