Just in case anyone is still wondering…

Codex Amiatinus, image showing someone wearing white gloves

By Remi Mathis (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Not sure if anyone is still under the impression that the infamous white glove (or any other glove for that matter) is necessary when it comes to handling books or manuscripts. The idea that someone should wear gloves is relatively recent and rather persistent.

Of course, there are exceptions to the rule, but these usually relate to the health of the handler (in the case of mould for example) rather than because it is better for the book or manuscript. Old photographs are another exception.

Although the following diagram by Rebecca Goldman relates to archives, the same is true for old items held in libraries. The British Library published its policy on gloves in response to comments received from concerned (and well-intentioned) TV viewers noticing that the person handling an old book or manuscript Failed To Wear White Gloves…


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2 Responses to Just in case anyone is still wondering…

  1. Nick Saunders says:

    I’ve often thought these are worn to impress rather than serve any useful purpose. We sometimes see the real experts using their bare hands.

    • dwesterhof says:

      In some cases gloves are appropriate, such as when handling metal objects or old photographs. Books and manuscripts are usually better served with clean hands. In case of mould on books, nitrile gloves are used since they provide better protection and are more tactile than cotton gloves … *end of lecture* 😉