PACKING AND SHIPPING BOOKS
Books, periodicals, and serials can sustain damage during shipping if they are
not handled appropriately. Older volumes and volumes with flimsy paper covers
are especially susceptible. Sometimes damaged material cannot be fixed or replaced.
If an accident does happen, inspect the book(s) for damage and call the Book
Repair Unit (3-1250) immediately for help. See illustrations of best practices
following the narrative.
HOW TO PACK AND SHIP BOOKS/PERIODICALS/SERIALS
- The best shipping containers for library materials are ones with straight
up and down sides, carrying handles, snug lids, and a solid construction.
- Place volumes into their container carefully. Do NOT toss, throw or drop
books into boxes.
- Pack volumes flat with the bigger, heavier volumes on the bottom. Never
pack with the spine up or at angles. Pack volumes spine down if necessary,
but avoid using this approach if containers don't have lids. Use plenty of
padding to prevent books from shifting during transit.
- If the books have to be moved through the outdoors, provide covers during
rain. Use plastic garbage bags if nothing better is available.
- Packing a box too full or too tightly can damage the contents. Packing a
box too loosely without padding can cause the volumes to shift around and
damage each other. If a box is only half full of library materials, fill the
empty space with bubble wrap, foam peanuts, foam padding, or packing paper.
- If shipping single volumes, always use a padded bag or wrap the item in
bubble wrap before inserting into a paper envelope.
- If using open containers for transport, don't stack containers directly
on the volumes in the container beneath. The abrasion can damage hard covers
or literally tear off paper covers. The container's bottom may also transfer
dirt to the materials it's sitting on.
- Tape boxes shut if they are not packed full. Partially packed boxes twist
and torque when lifted or moved and the contents are stressed.
- Do not stack containers filled with books more than 3-4 boxes high. Higher
stacks could be unstable because of the heavy contents.
- The size of a container makes a big difference in transporting. Boxes that
are too large and heavy are more likely to be dropped. The boxes themselves
may be too heavy to safely lift. For these reasons the library messengers
will not move boxes weighing more that 40 pounds.
- Always secure bins, book trucks, boxes, etc., inside the transporting vehicle.
Tying down the load will prevent it from shifting during the trip and possibly
damaging the contents or the walls of the vehicle.
SAMPLES OF BEST PRACTICES
(Images from Harvard University Library's Guideline: Packing
Bins to Transport Library Materials)
1. Partially full lidded container. Padding added to prevent shifting during
transit. Items packed on their spines.
2. Full lidded container needs no padding. Items packed on their spines.
3. Large items packed flat in lidded container. Padding added to prevent shifting