1. Line with love. Protect pages from tearing by placing a strip of clear library tape (available at office supply stores) along the outside edge of every page. (Other tapes, even invisible ones, are less sturdy and may discolor over time.) Protect the outside by carefully taping over the entire cover.
2. Protect the backbone. Run one strip of wide library tape along the entire spine, covering a small portion of both the front and back covers.
3. Keep clean! Remove pencil marks and most fingerprints with an art gum eraser. Use white or buff-colored liquid erasers to cover up marks left by crayon, pen, or marker. (Children will be more likely to be careful with books that look well cared for.)
4. Location! Location! Location! Don't overcrowd shelves, and arrange books so children can easily see the covers as they make their selections. This will encourage gentler handling and also prevent children from pulling on the spine to get a book off a shelf. Make sure there's enough room for children to put books back so there isn't a need to cram materials.
5. Try a little tenderness. As you read to children and look through books yourself, model appropriate ways to hold a book, gently turning pages with your thumb and forefinger rather than your whole hand. The respect you show and love you feel for books is catching!