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Handling Materials

GENERAL

  • Keep hands clean and dry; place material on clean surface.
  • Do not use staples, adhesive tape, post-its, metal paper clips, ink, thick marking strips or other non-archival material.
  • Avoid leaning on materials or piling them up, especially in an open position.
  • Food and drink (including water) are not allowed in the Reading Room.
  • Use carrying cases, folders, supports whenever possible.
  • Notify library staff if you see any evidence of insects or rodents, mildew, damp, or unusual dirt or deterioration.
  • Do not attempt to repair material yourself. You may use the "Comments for Curator" flag or other appropriate method to communicate problems of any kind.
  • Do not bend, fold or roll flat material such as maps or other oversize items.
  • Refer to Bancroft Library photocopy policy or library staff regarding restrictions on photocopying fragile or restricted material. Photographic reproduction or microfilming may be possible.
  • Material should be used on a table or other flat, elevated surface; do not put on the floor or on your lap.

BOXES, CARTONS

  • Avoid tipping containers, jostling, dropping or positioning on end.
  • Be wary of hand holes on containers that are weakened or torn.
  • Do not alter the order of folders or individual items within containers. Use an out card as necessary to mark your place. Support folders with hands at both sides when removing from container to prevent contents from spilling out. Do not place full folders on end.
  • Carry one item at a time.
  • Align sheets within folders so that ends are not protruding beyond the protection of the folder.
  • Flat boxes should always be carried and used flat.

BOUND VOLUMES

  • Use only paper for bookmarks.
  • Do not pull a book off the reference shelves by the headpiece. Do not grasp with fingernails.
  • Never force open a book with a tight binding. Do not stack opened books or place them face down.
  • Avoid touching the surface of pages with writing or painted or gold leaf illustrations. Especially on vellum, ink can chip or be rubbed off. Turn pages only at their outer edges.
  • Unopened pages (where the folds in the quires have not been cut, preventing the turning of single pages) should be referred to the Curator of Rare Books or the Deputy Director.
  • Be aware of the condition of the books you are handling. Even new-looking books can be at risk, e.g., perfect-bound books with pages that are simply glued into the spine and that can easily pop out when roughly handled.
  • To turn a page of a book, lift the top outer corner and lightly slip the fingertips down the fore-edge, supporting the page. Do not attempt to turn a page while holding something else.

PICTORIAL

  • Use gloves when handling negatives, transparencies and all unprotected pictorial material.
  • Touch only edges of photoprints; never the image itself. When carrying, support the whole image; do not carry by a corner.
  • Do not flex images.
  • Limit movement and shifting of images within folders or containers. Carry flat boxes flat. Avoid stacking.
  • Use care in handling accopress binders of photos - images may be unsecured or too close to binding hardware or cardboard mounted photographs may be in a dangerous flex situation.
  • Do not hold a print, drawing or photograph, even when mounted, by one hand only; always support it at its sides with both hands.
  • Pictorial staff must assist in the handling of at-risk or restricted pictorial material.


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