Dust in historic libraries

Helen Lloyd, Caroline Bendix, Peter Brimblecombe, David Thickett

Dust poses a particular challenge for historic libraries, where the quantity of fragile books makes the task of cleaning them labour-intensive, time-consuming and potentially damaging. This project investigates the frequency of cleaning appropriate in historic libraries, by monitoring the distribution of dust across shelves, the risks of high humidity causing cementation, and the usefulness of traditional dust falls (cloth or leather flap covering the gap between book and shelf above). The results enable book-cleaning teams and their managers to understand the relationship between visitors, dust and cementation, and to refine their cleaning regimes.