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  • Always handle Special Collections material with clean dry hands; no hand cream or nail polish.
  • Look out for vulnerable areas in the book, such as loose endbands and cracked hinges, and take extra care where these are observed.
  • Do not, at any time, open manuscripts or rare book flat on the table; use book supports and cushions to create an angled support for the manuscript.

  • Adjust the book supports to suit different book openings when examining different parts of the book.
  • Take care when turning leaves and use a page turner where necessary.
  • Use extra support for fold-outs and/or fore-edge flaps.
  • Use snake weights to hold open leaves and restrain unbound material such as unrolled charts and plans. Avoid placing the weight on text areas and where necessary use silicone release paper to protect vulnerable areas.
  • Use nitrile gloves when handling photographs and hold them at the edges.
  •  Do not mark or annotate the leaves of manuscripts or rare books.
  • Only use acid-free paper to flag leaves when needed.
  • Do not drag books across the surface of the table and be sure to close the book carefully when you have finished your assessment.
  • Always carry the book closed and with two hands.
  • If you are unsure of the safest way to handle manuscripts or rare books, ask for assistance from the reading room staff.

Book supports, snake weights, page turners, acid free slips, silicone release papers and nitrile gloves are available in the Manuscripts and Rare Books Reading Rooms.