Libraries preserve books, history

In this age of internet resources, eBooks and PDF files, the need to go to a library and check out books is getting smaller for some.

Perhaps this is why our own Jerome Library has been dealing with deteriorating building conditions which may be putting the books in danger.

According to Eric Honneffer, Document Conservator for the library, ideal conditions for maintaining book collections are 50 degrees with 50 percent humidity.

This might not be a problem, except the dehumidifying system was shut off close to 20 years ago.

The library also lacks the proper funding to install cooling towers which would regulate the temperature inside the building.

Currently the collections have been put at risk by violently fluctuating temperature and humidity. In September 2005, the humidity sank from 68 percent to 44 percent over two weeks, seriously endangering the books.

So why aren’t we taking better care of our books?

More importantly, why is this issue just now coming to the attention of the student body?

This is an issue which should have special attention. Books are still one of our most valuable resources. There is no reason to allow them to deteriorate like this.

In an article in today’s BG News, evidence is brought to light that even before the library officially opened in 1967, there were reports of leaks in the pipes.

The leaking has continued despite intermittent repairs and has resulted in not only the need to repair some books, but also darkening circles and water damage on the ceiling.

As if this wasn’t bad enough, the books are subjected to dirt and dust being blown about by ceiling vents.

The situation at our library is grave. We need to rise up as a campus and fight to get these problems fixed.

Things will not change until students express concern to the administrators. They are the ones who must come up with the money to correct the problems.

Paper is one of the most fragile materials today. Though our professors are teaching us to do our research online through scholarly journals and internet resources, we must respect our books.

Books will always be around, even when technology changes.

They are not only a testament to our beginnings, but a resource which does not rely on servers, URL addresses or even electricity.

Our books deserve a stable environment so that we might enjoy them for another 40 years.