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Book Cleaning

November 15, 2012
Book Cleaning

Bridget and Doug, 2 members of our book cleaning team

Thursday is book cleaning day at Cragside. We have a team of volunteers who are trained by conservators to take on the mammoth task of cleaning our collection of about 10,000 books. Rather than have a traditional chock-full library with floor to ceiling book cases, our collection is spread through the house.

The training our book cleaning volunteers are given covers everything from removing the books from their shelves, to handling them and the cleaning itself. They are also shown how to complete condition reports so that we can monitor any damage found and assess whether its condition had worsened from year to year. They can also do some minor remedial conservation work, such as ‘taping’ a book, which involves using a natural cotton tape to tie the book up to support a loose spine and keep the book together.

Interestingly, most people believe that to handle historic books you should wear gloves. This is not correct! Clean, dry hands, free from jewellery/hand cream/nail varnish are best. Gloves are likely to pull off loose or lifting materials or lettering pieces.

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