Important Cleaning Procedures for Libraries

February 25, 2019

Library stacks, offices and storage areas must be kept clean of debris and dust to uphold the integrity of all books and materials held inside. When dust collects on books, it absorbs and holds in moisture that only helps to boost corrosion. Dust particles can even inflict damage on the overall integrity of books, damaging them over time.

Having a continuing program of accountable cleaning procedures, taking care of shelves and library materials, will help to control the amount of dirt and mess. Having a well-cared-for library cache will not only establish the quality of materials for a long time but will let library patrons know you care about what’s inside.

What to Consider Before Cleaning

One of the first things to take care of before cleaning processes take place is to have a library insurance plan ready. A comprehensive library insurance plan will help to ensure protection over your stacks of books and supply financial protection amid a loss of any kind.

Also, libraries should be on the lookout for other problems playing a factor in damaging books, such as the presence of rodents, birds or mold. There may be a humidity problem within storage areas or insect trails that are detected.

Damaged materials that need repair should not be pulled from the stacks. Instead, call numbers should be recorded on a separate sheet of paper with a note about what the problem is.


An introductory level of cleaning that can be done practically any time is dusting. Static dust cloths can be used to curb dust particles and cut down on cobwebs throughout the library. Stay away from chemically-treated dust cloths and dusting products as these should not be used directly on books.

Books should be picked up one at a time and held firmly closed when dusting occurs and make sure that dust and dirt stay away from entering the text block.


A more thorough way to clean materials is to vacuum. A vacuum prevents the recirculation of dust back into the air around books. Vacuums should also have soft brush attachments that can carefully clean books to make sure they are not damaged further.

Library managers should delegate cleaning tasks on a rotating schedule to make sure everyone pitches in and understands the cleaning needs of a library. There should be a good amount of cleaning products handy at all times and specific cleaning stations with these items, such as cloths, rags, vacuums and dust masks.

Those who clean during their shift should make a log of when and where they cleaned to hold everyone accountable for playing their part in the process. And when cleaning is finished, make sure to put books back on the shelf with a bookend, in order. At the end of a shift, record the last call number, total sections cleaned and how long it took on a clipboard.

About Regan Agency

A family-owned business, Long Island-based Regan Agency has more than 35 years of experience serving the insurance and risk management needs of Tri-State residents and businesses. We have earned the trust of our clients based on our integrity and commitment to offer individuals and businesses quality library insurance products at competitive prices backed by unparalleled responsive service. Just give one of our professionals a call at 631-669-3434.