Removing labels from library discards

rosefollyApril 20, 2008

Does anyone know how to do this safely? I posted this question on the childhood favorite books thread, but I suspect it will get lost there.

I often purchase used books, and sometimes those are library discards. I know I must learn to live with the old card envelopes that may have been glued inside if they came from the card era. I do wish I could remove those sticky labels though. On some old clothbound books they are clued directly to the spine; on books with jackets they are attached there. In a public library such labels are a necessary evil, but if there is a safe way to remove them from books I own, I would dearly love to do so.

I suspect I am not the only book collector among our members, and I know I am not the only former or current library staff member here. I hope someone can help me with this question.

Thanks for any help.

Rosefolly

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cindydavid4

Hee, ok, I'll place my response from that thread, here :)

If you are talking about removing stickers from the Mylar cover, you can try a very small amount of Goo Gone or a similar brand. Dont use much; put a small amount on a cloth and rub it on. Let it set in; you should be able to peel it off easily but may need to repeat. Do NOT use on the actual pages or anywhere near the paper cover. Also I'd be wary using it on vintage or rare books. BTW this works as well for the stickly labels on other products as well.

I keep a bottle of goo gone at school for removing crayon and glue from non porous surfaces; just don't use it around kids and use in a well ventilated area (the site says its non toxic but I always prefer being safe). I've also used it at home to clean the grime off stove vent covers. The site for the product does say its good on all surfacers, but I'd use it first on an inconspicuous spot before I'd believe that.

Check out this site for ideas from others for cleaning off labels.

Here is a link that might be useful: removing lables

    Bookmark   April 20, 2008 at 5:40AM
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grelobe

Usually heat softens the glue, to take off price-stickers I use my lighter, but in my little I'm an expert you don't have to keep the flame under the sticker too long, in order to avoid to darken what is around the sticker and have to sway it for less than seconds , to not get it on fire , but I know people that use hairdryers to do the trick, or put what they want to remove upon boiling water

grelobe

    Bookmark   April 20, 2008 at 9:37AM
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ginny12

I use Goo Gone for sticky labels on lots of things but it does remove color from paper so would be wary of using it on dust jackets and book covers.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2008 at 12:43PM
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rosefolly

I've been looking at a Goo Gone website and it says NOT to use it on the cloth covers of old books. Apparently it will remove the color from the cloth binding.

Rosefolly

    Bookmark   April 20, 2008 at 1:05PM
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bookmom41

As one of those library staff members, I can tell you (which you already know!) the stickers are meant to stick. A young man, however, told me that he uses a razor blade to remove the sticker from a damaged item and affixes it with glue onto a replacement item. That way, he avoids the library "replacement fee" as well as probably being able to buy the replacement item for less than we'd charge.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2008 at 6:51PM
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cindydavid4

>I've been looking at a Goo Gone website and it says NOT to use it on the cloth covers of old books. Apparently it will remove the color from the cloth binding.

Yes, I made that comment already above. I would not recommend it for vintage or old books, or on any plain paper covers. Just the mylar only.

Using lighters or lighter fluid (someone on that site mentioned) just sends shivers down my spine, I can't imagine wanting those things off bad enough.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2008 at 7:45PM
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rosefolly

Cindy, thank you; I know you did. I was just trying to elicit more suggestions for those who may have missed seeing that I am working with old books some of the time.

It is an old set of clothbound books that I am particularly concerned with just now, though of course I also benefit from general information for more recent used books.

As for mylar covers with sticky labels, I just replace the cover with a new one. It is labels directly on books or directly on paper dust jackets that concern me.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2008 at 8:21PM
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cindydavid4

Ah....ok. For those, I have no idea. I'd be afraid to use anything on the cloth covers and esp afraid to use something on older books. Have you asked a librarian? Or, contact your local museum curator to see how they repair their paper items.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2008 at 12:22AM
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siobhan_1

Have you tried using an iron? Very low heat, of course.

At my local library, many beautiful old books have been marked on the cloth or leather covers with permanent markers. A necessary evil, I know, I know, but I always feel a little sick when I see it.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2008 at 11:54AM
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ccrdmrbks

I would definitely contact a book conservator before experimenting-any reputable used-book dealer will be able to give you names.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2008 at 1:30PM
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rgvedder_msn_com

For the call-number labels on hardback spines, I have a two-step approach. First, I use Goo-Gone on a q-tip to remove the upper layers. Let dry. Second, I use Goof-Off on a q-tip to remove the lower layers, which contain an adhesive that heat-bonds with the cloth on the cover. Use Goof-Off in a well-ventilated area! Soak a cotton tip, swab the layer, and then rub it gently; several applications may be needed to remove all of the bonded adhesive. Let dry in the same well-ventilated area. (And I'm not joking about the need for circulating fresh air.)

    Bookmark   March 17, 2010 at 3:25PM
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netla

> At my local library, many beautiful old books have been marked on the cloth or leather covers with permanent markers.

Siobhan, that sent a chill down my spine, and not a good one.

I have used the razor blade method, which works fine but leaves a sticky patch. Some of the glue can then be rubbed off with a fingertip.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2010 at 5:16AM
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annpan

I have used a eucalyptus oil disinfectant spray (Bosisto's)to clean books and remove the sticky labels. This works well on plastic type coatings on covers and also some pages of children's books. I do a small test first after nearly ruining one book where I removed some of the coloured art-work! Oops!

    Bookmark   March 20, 2010 at 7:30PM
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yoyobon_gw

There's a product specifically for this purpose...it is called GOO GONE.
It is amazing for removing any sticky tag or residue.
Otherwise, WD40 would probably work as well.

Good Luck !

    Bookmark   March 22, 2010 at 7:51AM
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