How do I preserve my newspapers and newspaper clippings?

Newspapers from the mid-19th century onwards are printed on inexpensive, machine-made, wood pulp paper that is not manufactured for longevity. Due to the inherent chemical instabilities of such low-quality wood pulp papers, these newspapers are inherently acidic. To address the inherent condition and access challenges presented by newspapers, conservation treatment (which may include neutralizing or reducing inherent acidity) by paper conservator and/or reformatting may be necessary. However, the most effective and economical preservation measures are preventive: proper storage, storage environment, and handling.

Take proper care when handling newspapers by:

  • Having clean hands and a clean, large work table on which to use the newspaper
  • Keeping the newspaper flat and fully supported on the table during use
  • Keeping food and drink away
  • Never folding the paper back on itself
  • Refolding the paper using the original center fold and with the edges neatly aligned
  • Not using paper clips, "dog ear" folding, acidic inserts, rubber bands, self-adhesive tape, and/or glue on newspapers and clippings

Good storage is especially critical to the preservation of acidic papers, but the following guidelines apply to all newspapers, including those from before the mid-19th century, which are printed on better quality paper:

  • A cool (room temperature or below), relatively dry (about 35% relative humidity), clean, and stable environment (avoid attics, basements, and other locations with high risk of leaks and environmental extremes)
  • Minimal exposure to all kinds of light; no exposure to direct or intense light
  • Distance from radiators and vents
  • Supportive protective enclosures; binding of newspapers is not recommended
  • Flat storage

Last Updated: Mar 02, 2021
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Additional Ways to Contact Us

Send written correspondence to:

Preservation Directorate
Library of Congress
101 Independence Ave. SE
Washington, D.C.  20540-4530

Please Note

We cannot provide: conservation (including review, examination, treatment), digitization/reformatting, access to/use of Library of Congress equipment, project funding, appraisals, recommendations for products or vendors, materials testing or analysis, preservation courses or classes, and/or responses to vendors seeking to sell or promote commercial products.