Wearing gloves in the archives

Before I ever set foot in an archive I was used to seeing television presenters donning white gloves before handling old books and documents. The explanation given was that it was to protect the aged paper from moisture. I expected that I would have to do the same, but in the four rare book rooms I’ve used it’s never been an issue. I was only ever offered gloves once and that was to protect me from dirt rather than the book from me. Was the glove donning just a televisual device?

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One Response to “Wearing gloves in the archives”

  1. Sharon Says:

    I’ve noticed that too and I think it must be. Hardly anyone in manuscript reading rooms ever wears them either. (Even in the PRO where they’re pretty strict on handling care.) And as you say, when they do it’s more likely to be to protect the researchers from filthy mucky documents. Besides, latex gloves are better to work with than cotton ones.

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