Guidelines for Handling Items

The improper handling of records poses the greatest threat to long-term preservation. Listed below are a few guidelines to help minimize major risks while you are using items in a Church history facility:

  • Natural oils and dirt from your skin can damage materials, so you should thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water or with lotion-free hand wipes before handling documents.
  • Books, manuscripts, and photographs are often rare and fragile. Handle them as little and as gently as possible to ensure they last for many years to come.
  • Rest your hands, arms, or other objects on the table, not on the item.
  • Use only a pencil when taking handwritten notes, and ensure that your notepaper is not resting on a library item as you write. Do not add or erase marks from books or manuscripts.
  • Keep material in folders or plastic sleeves. Maintain the original arrangement of the items in the folder.
  • View rare or fragile books in the cradle provided by staff.
  • Use only clean, acid-free strips of paper as markers. These may be obtained from staff.
  • Wear gloves only when handling photographs without plastic sleeves. If photos are housed in plastic sleeves, do not remove them from their sleeves.
  • Keep CDs, DVDs, and microfilms in their cases before and immediately after use.
  • Rewind the microfilm reel carefully before placing it back in its box.
  • Notify a staff member if you discover damaged material or out-of-sequence items.