Book Care and Handling Tips

Over the past hundred years the Smith College Libraries has collected over a million and a quarter volumes which support the College's curricula, as well as the research and scholarship of its students and faculty. When you take care of the Libraries' collections, you assure that they will be available for your future use, and for the use of future generations.

You can do your part to preserve the collections by following these simple guidelines when handling and using library materials.

Push, Don't Pull - Remove books from the shelf carefully. Gently push volumes on either side back about an inch and grasp the one you need in the middle of its spine. Do not pull onthe tip of the spine, since this will cause tearing and lead to serious damage.

Ready for Repair - If you find library materials that are in need of repair, turn them in to the Circulation Desk so trained library staff can repair them. Repairing items yourself can do more harm than good.
Use Bookmarks - Use a proper bookmark to mark your place. Please don't dog-ear pages, or use sticky notes or paper clips. These items cause permanent damage to the pages of a book. Use a thin slip of paper instead.
R-E-S-P-E-C-T - Treat library materials with respect. Marking text, cutting out plates or photos, tearing out pages or outright theft of library materials all damage the collection and waste time and money on repairs and replacement.- Use a proper bookmark to mark your place. Please don't dog-ear pages, or use sticky notes or paper clips. These items cause permanent damage to the pages of a book. Use a thin slip of paper instead.
No Food - Keep food and drink away from library materials. Spills and stains permanently damage books, which often require costly replacement. Food also attracts insects and rodents that eat paper and bindings.
Wet Weather - Protect books from rain, snow, or any other type of moisture. Humidity encourages mold growth, and water damages paper and bindings. When transporting library materials in wet weather, protect them in a waterproof bag or backpack.
Danger Lurks in Bookdrops - Limit the use of bookdrops. Books take a beating when dropped, especially when other books land on top of them. Return books to the Circulation Desk whenever possible.
No Pets - Keep pets away from library books. A dog can reduce a book to chewed-up pulp in a matter of seconds.