A nice view on a personal bugbear:
At a recent Pawn Stars shoot, before handling the item a seller had brought in, he insisted that I wear white gloves. Watch any clips of me handling books, and you will note the glaring lack of those cotton nightmares.
I will admit that there is some debate about how appropriate white gloves are. But I’m not being needlessly reckless, here: the vast majority of opinion in the past decade has fallen to the side of No Gloves. Why is that? Won’t your dirty hands soil the books?
Well, sure. Our skin is slightly acidic, that’s true, and acid hurts paper. But preservation librarians Cathleen Baker and Randy Silverman argue in their landmark 2005 article:
Compared with the destructive effects of air pollution, heat, light, poor storage conditions, repeated folding, and internal acidity, the chemical deterioration caused by paper’s contact with bare skin is imperceptible.
So. Touching the paper…
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