USC Libraries Adopt-a-Book

The first gift of rare books to the USC Libraries was in 1911, making USC the earliest institutional collector of rare books in Los Angeles.  These special books not only give students an understanding of the subject matter, but also provide special insight into early printing and illustration techniques.  In this increasingly technological world, students particularly enjoy the ability to conduct their research by actually touching and paging through old texts.

Many of these books are very old – some are even hundreds of years old – and, unfortunately many have been ravaged by time.  Direct sunlight, fluctuations in heat and humidity, dust, mold and mildew can significantly damage books over the years.   Leather bindings become stiff, pages are accidently torn, spines crack, ink and illustrations fade.  Left unchecked, the impacts of time can render these books unusable and they must be placed on shelves and forever removed from circulation.  Students and faculty can no longer enjoy these wonderful old texts.

The Special Collections Department at USC Libraries has created the Adopt-a-Book program to help counter the harmful impact of time on these old books, and keep these books accessible to students and faculty.

USC librarians work with skilled experts to reattach covers, replace spines, condition leather covers, repair torn pages and sew bindings using methods that retain the authenticity of the book.   Restored books are placed in specially designed climate-controlled boxes that help to minimize future damage.  Most importantly, these books can once again be used by our students and faculty.   

Rare book restoration is an expensive process. 

Your gift to USC Libraries Adopt-a-Book program provides much-needed funds to restore and preserve our rare book collections, and will help us to counter damage from overuse and the natural effects of time.   

Please consider making a gift to USC Libraries’ Adopt-a-Book program.   

Thank you and Fight On!