Proper shelving procedures for bound materials have been discussed elsewhere in this session (see Stack Maintenance). The non-knifing variety of bookend, which has a lip, is preferred to the knifing variety, which allows books to be jammed onto its sharp edge. A brick covered with book cloth fastened with PVA adhesive can be a good book support. Another alternative is a piece of acid-free foam-core covered with book cloth and slipped over the upright of a knifing bookend to shield the metal edge.
Boxes constructed of preservation-quality materials can be custom made to fit a book's measurements. They provide support for the volume and protection from dirt, dust, light, and mechanical damage. Volumes with artifactual value, where the fragile binding is to be retained in its present condition, should be boxed. Volumes that have low value or are rarely used and do not warrant treatment or repair of the binding may also be boxed.
Boxes can be made in-house or contracted out. Drop-spine boxes provide the most protection. Phase boxes are not as rigid or impervious to light or dust, but they are an acceptable cost-efficient alternative. Ready-made rare book boxes can be purchased from conservation suppliers, but if they are to provide proper protection, they must fit the books closely and the weight of the board or card stock must be appropriate for the size of the books. Many vendors make both drop-spine and phase boxes. Deteriorated books of great value should have custom-made drop-spine boxes that fit the book exactly.
Infrequently used deteriorated books can be wrapped in buffered paper or fitted with polyester book jackets (see Polyester Film Book Jacket for instructions). Both of these strategies will prevent dispersion of the "dust" from red rot and provide some protection from dust and abrasion. These strategies are cheaper than boxing, but they offer less protection. Among the disadvantages: a polyester book jacket does not cover the book completely; the paper and polyester film do not provide as much support as box board; and it can be difficult to replace a paper wrapping properly once it is removed for use.
If detached covers must be tied onto books as a temporary protection, ties should be undyed cotton or linen tape or undyed polyester ribbon. Any knots should be at the top or fore edge of the text block to prevent damage from pressure against other books. Never hold damaged bindings together with rubber bands; the rubber bands will deteriorate themselves and cause further damage.