I’m not much for collecting things, but after I finished my literature degree I got big into collecting old books. There are few things I love more than vintage literature, especially the illustrated editions of my favorite poets from the turn of the century. However, I also live in an apartment in the south. This means that my home is hardly the safest for collecting old books.
If you’ve ever been in a library, you may notice the archives is seperate from the general collection. This is to keep them safe, not just from people but the elements. The older the book, the more it needs cool and dry air to keep it in the best condition possible. So, since I do not have a sealed and temperature controlled room, I did the next best thing by keeping my books in the spare bedroom with a dehumidifier. The dehumidifier does what my air conditioner cannot–it physically alters the moisture of the air. Sure the AC makes it feel cooler and dryer, but it doesn’t actively remove the moisture.
I can always see the dehumidifier working too, as I can see the water it pulls form the air in the collection tank. All I have to do is empty the little water tank once its full, which happens a lot in the summer, and its good to go. I can run it constantly, and it’s so minimal it doesn’t run up the utility bill. With the dehumidifier, my old book collection is safe from the ravages of the environment.