Why You Shouldn’t Use Sticky Notes

While Post-it® notes and other brands of self-adhesive note paper may seem like a good way to take notes or keep your place in a library book please consider that they cause damage to library materials. In a study carried out by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) it was shown that the glue used in these notes left behind a residue, even when the notes were immediately removed. The adhesive can attract dirt, make pages stick together, or smear text.

Many brands of self-adhesive note paper also contains lignin, which causes instability and deterioration of paper. In addition to the damaging qualities of the paper, the adhesive contained on the paper hardens and leaves a film that becomes acidic. This results in eventual discoloration and brittleness of the paper. Significantly  brittle materials are also at high risk, as simply removing a self-adhesive note from brittle paper can often cause it to break or tear.

While we know sticky notes are useful, please consider an alternative when using library materials, as you may be fined for damaging books if you use sticky notes.  Please remember that these collections are for everyone, and should be taken care of.

This image shows the damage caused by various sticky notes.

Alternatives to consider:

  • Personal notebook
  • Acid-free bookmarks (can be found at the circulation desk)
  • Laptop/Tablet/Smartphone

Further reading:

Tenner, Edward. “The Dark Side of Sticky Notes.” The Atlantic 28 July 2010. Web. 8 May 2013. <http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2010/07/the-dark-side-of-sticky-notes/60543/>.