Caring for the Collection

SSL ♥ Books Project

With the number of books being sent for repair at the SSL (at least 250 books every term!) the SSL Love Books Project was created to help promote the care and welfare of the SSL's important teaching and research collection. For more information about the project, please visit the SSL Love Books Project page.

The Life of Book

The Life of a Book video was created by staff of the Bodleian Social Science Library Love Books Project Team.

Tips for good book care

Every book sent for repair is one less book available for you to read and borrow. Whilst damaged books are sometimes unavoidable, particularly for titles on reading lists in high demand, there are a number of small things we can all do to reduce the number of books that are unavailable at any given time.

In the table below we've come up with lots of easy ways to help look after both your own and the SSL's books.

X Try not to...This can cause...Instead, try to...
X get books wetbooks to become mouldy or misshapenkeep books dry by putting them in a waterproof bag
X press down on the spine of a book or open a book until the spine splitsthe binding to break down, sections to become detached from the cover and pages to fall outopen the book gently and handle with care
X eat or drink near a bookbooks to become mouldy (or pages to become unreadable with greasy food) and encourage pestseat and drink before or after reading and wash your hands before touching the book (water is less of a threat but can still damage books)
X throw or drop a bookthe pages to crease and the binding to break downplace books down or pass them carefully
X pile books too highbooks to fall over, which causes the same damage as throwing or dropping thempile no more than three or four at a time, and keep them away from the edge of a table or other surface
X store a book on its sidepages to fray and creasestore books in the usual upright position
X bend pages or the cover of a booktears to form and pages to become vulnerableensure that pages and the book cover are kept flat
X write in or mark a booktext to become unreadable and the next reader to be influenced unfairlymake notes on a separate piece, on removable sticky notes, or on book darts
X leave sticky notes in a bookpages to tear when they are removed after a long timeremove all sticky notes and book darts when returning a book
X leave books on the floorbooks to gather excess dirt and be accidentally damagedalways put books somewhere safe where they will not be damaged
X take more books at a time out than you needbooks to get damaged by being squeezed into bags; extra handling of books as they are taken home, returned and re-shelved unnecessarilytake out only as many books as you expect to read 


Or why not try an e-book? e-Books don't crease or go mouldy, nor do they get torn or covered in pen marks.

Make your mark on the world, not in a book!

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