Bookworms Beware!

the right humidity level for books

A good book is more than just a good read (If you find that the book you’re reading is a bad book, then put it down – no, better still toss it aside, because that’s the treatment it deserves. Like a telenovela or a corked wine which do not get any better the longer you watch it or the more you drink of it a bad book does not improve with reading).

A good book is a door to another world. A world sometimes so magical, so enthralling and so different to our own that we cannot wait to pick it up again and eagerly read on, plunging deeper and deeper, losing ourselves in its pages or picking our way meticulously through the weaving narrative or plot. A book can mesmerise and charm you, or it can captivate and revolt you. It can change your life forever or become a warm memory and an old friend. Books can be beautifully written, beautifully bound and beautifully illustrated. They can be inspiring or disheartening; they can be so funny and so sad that they make you cry. Books are mirrors of society and mirrors of souls. And they are proof of the power of the written word.

Which raises the question: “Where’s the best place to keep your books?”

Different people have different approaches. Some people simply like to be surrounded by their books and pile them high on shelves or stack them on the floor. Others prefer to line their walls with them and parade their collection, which they sort according to authors, the alphabet, topics or the size and colour of their treasured works. Whatever you do with your books is your own affair. But if you love your books as much as I do and value them much more highly than their material worth, then here are one or two things you need to know about them if you want to be able to continue to cherish your private collection or library.

Your most valuable books need to be kept in a controlled environment. The climate in the room is extremely important and should not be left to chance. Ideally the temperature should not be higher than 18C and no lower than 14C. The relative humidity is another major factor. It should be somewhere between 35 and 50%. Any moister and the pages of your books could start to become wavy or even mildewy. By the way, books should be kept in an upright position – that much we know. But books that are taller than 40cm should, ideally, be laid on their side.

If you wish to retire to the room you like to keep your books in order to lazily turn the pages of a beautifully illustrated book or simply to enjoy a good read, then you also need to keep an eye on the indoor climate. High carbon dioxide levels, for example, which occur when rooms are poorly aired or occupied by larger numbers of people can quickly bring on drowsiness and fatigue and prevent you from focusing on what you are doing. They can also lead to dips in performance and cause headaches and other distressing symptoms. There are recommended thresholds: a concentration of less than 800ppm (parts per million) is considered to be good, whereas values between 800 and 1400ppm are at the most acceptable but not desirable.

A monitoring device like the BZ 25 CO² air quality monitor can help you to check your indoor climate data and see if the temperature, relative humidity and the carbon dioxide levels in the room you occupy or keep your books in is ideal or not. The device is equipped with a large easy-to-read backlit display, which apart from the climate information mentioned above, also tells you the time and date. You can even set an alarm to warn you when the CO² concentration is higher than the recommended values.

So now that you have wisely decided to invest in a BZ 25 CO² and have therefore taken the first step to ensuring that you and your books are treated to the right indoor climate you can lean back comfortably or sink deeper into your armchair and immerse yourself in the world you have chosen to read more about. Call it escapism if you will – but what a beautiful form of escapism it is.

If you want to change the climate in your home or office, just visit our online shop to find out more about our wide and competitively-priced range of dehumidifiers, humidifiers and air conditioners. Or call us – we would be only too glad to help.

Trotec. The indoor climate specialists.

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