Collection care and handling policies that mandate curators and/or patrons to wear gloves when handling archival and library materials need reexamining. Contrary to popular opinion, gloves provide no guarantee of protection from perspiration and dirt. Further, they increase the likelihood of physical damage occurring to paper-based collection material by blunting the sense of touch. Gloved readers and collection management personnel are deprived of information concerning the condition of material they handle as well as the aesthetic pleasure of holding artifacts. Implementing an institutionally monitored, hand-cleaning policy is a reasonable and effective alternative to protecting artifacts from damage while promoting the essential humanistic experience of touch. Such a policy follows the standard protocol employed universally by book and paper conservators when handling the same material.
International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA)
Library materials, Conservation and restoration;
Library materials -- Conservation and restoration; Libraries