#LoveYourLibrary & Help Stop Book Damage

Welcome to Senate House Library's #LoveYourLibrary Campaign page. We’re on a mission to prevent book damage so that our books can be explored and enjoyed for years to come - and we need your help!

We are asking you to treat our books with sense and sensibility rather than crime and punishment before it’s too late. Every year we have to replace books due to underlining, highlighting, doodles and some, well, 'incredible additions' (and not in a good way!) as well as some careless mistreatment of great works of literature. 

With this treatment, some editions could be gone forever and we would like to remind you that it is your responsibility to take care of our materials so that they may be enjoyed by other readers. If we didn't have to replace damaged books, we could buy over 120 more new items each year.

To help care for books and #LoveYourLibrary, our friendly Collection Care and Customer Service teams have put together some advice for you to follow:

Some facts about preservation work

  • We repair about 175 books each month.
  • A total of 2239 books were repaired between September 2016 and September 2017.
  • The Collections mainly affected are: English (299 books repaired), History (201 books repaired) and Philosophy (155 books repaired) between August 2016 and July 2017.

The examples below illustrate common types of damage that can easily be avoided.

Highlighting, underlining and making notes in pen or pencil

This kind of damage makes it impossible for borrowers with visual impairment to use visual reading aid software with these texts. It makes text less clear when photocopying. Lastly, it also encourages other users to deface items. 


Bending corners, food and drink stains

Stains and folds shorten the life of books, which can lead to items being removed from the Collections. Food and smells also attract mice into the library.


Attaching Post-It notes to pages or using adhesive tape

Removal of Post-It notes can tear brittle paper and it takes valuable staff time. Adhesive tapes cause irreversible damage.


Library Regulations, fines and charges for damage to items

We reserve the right to charge our borrowers for defacing our materials and we have started to implement this policy more rigorously in recent months. If you wish to see more on related Senate House Library policies and regulations, please check the links below:

For information about the use of Library materials:

View Library Regulations

Further details about our lost books procedure:

See Fines and Charges

How do we expect you to treat our books? Here are the Library's own 'Instructions':

Care of books