Using gloves with books and manuscripts

Watch the video to help you decide when to wear gloves with collection items.

A conservator handling a manuscript with gloves

Don’t wear gloves because you feel you should. Watch our video to help you evaluate the risks and benefits of wearing them.

Key points about gloves

Don't wear gloves just because you feel you should. Evaluate the risks and benefits of wearing them first.

Wearing gloves can make it harder to judge the condition of the item you’re handling. This can lead to a reduction in dexterity, making it harder to handle items safely. This can increase the risk of damage.

Gloves can pick up and transfer dirt and debris to other items. This is a particular problem with cotton gloves. It's often better to ensure hands are clean rather than to wear gloves.

You may be asked to wear gloves to handle certain vulnerable material types.

Find out more about fingerprints and their potential impact on our collections.