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General Preservation Practices

Maintain a stable environment

Avoid fluctuations in temperature and humidity, as these cause paper to swell and contract and can also induce harmful condensation. 

High temperatures and humidity levels also accelerate destructive chemical reactions in paper and encourage mold growth. 

Damage from mold.


Never store important papers in uncontrolled environments or in environments vulnerable to water intrusion such as basements, garages or attics.  

Ideal conditions are as follows. 

  • Paper: 65 degrees Fahrenheit, 40% relative humidity
  • Photographs: 68 degrees Fahrenheit, 35-40% relative humidity
  • Magnetic tapes: 65 degrees Fahrenheit, 30% relative humidity


Water damage.


It is not always possible to achieve these ideals – just do your best!

imls180.for.panel.jpgMany of these resources and programs are funded under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Florida's LSTA program is administered by the Department of State's Division of Library and Information Services.