Archival Resources

A guide to archival resources at UTSA Libraries Special Collections

Handling Rare Books

Handling rare books requires specific tools and techniques.

  • If the book you are looking at is in a box, gently open the box and remove the book entirely from its enclosure before opening it. Do  not set the book on top of its box. 
  • Be especially gentle with tightly-bound materials. Never force a book to open so far that it is straining the spine. If one or both covers are detached or missing, ask staff for advice on the best way to handle the volume.
  • If provided, use foam cushions or Plexiglas cradles to hold books while reading them.
  • If using weights to hold the book open, lay them on gently and remove them before turning the page to avoid tearing.
  • Unfold drawings and charts carefully. Be sure to re-fold these as they were when you found them. If you have difficulty, ask staff for assistance.
  • Never place books face-down or fold corners to mark your place. Use a bookmark provided by staff.