Those who invest in book lighting for private libraries generally display only rare books or special collector’s edition prints on their bookshelves. These books are made from very fine, and also sometimes very sensitive, materials. Lighting them requires careful attention to the aesthetic presentation of books as display collectibles in their own right. It also requires an awareness that not all forms of bookcase lighting fixtures are suitable for rare and collectible books, and that some forms of light (such has UV-rich fluorescent), must be avoided at all costs.
As harmless as any given spectrum visible light may appear at face value, it is the invisible wavelengths of light that may also be part of that spectrum that can pose a serious, unseen threat to the covers and pages of rare books. Because paper and leather originate from organic sources, they are just as sensitive to the destructive effects of ultraviolet light as living tissue is to sun burn and skin cancer. They are also sensitive to the excessive heat radiance of infrared light on the opposite end of the spectrum. IR light can dehydrate paper and leather, and in some cases, even create a fire hazard.
Book lights must avoid invisible wavelength emissions of any kind to be both pleasing and safe to use. In recent years, 2700K LED lamps have emerged as the best tools to use for this purpose.
LED lamps are ideal for book lighting because they are 100% free of both ultraviolet and infrared light frequencies when comparing other festoon lamps. This is because LED technology uses solid diodes, not incandescent gases, to generate luminance. LEDs emit a tight, monochromatic frequency of color that is emitted in a very narrow wavelength and does not diverge into the invisible portions of the spectrum that can damage fine collectibles. And added value LED technology offers is power savings, because these book lights require only a minimum of electric current at low voltage to perform. This allows them to operate for extended periods of time without an increase in physical temperature, and eliminates the fire hazard often posed by hotter burning sources. When such technology is integrated into a wireless Phantom linear lighting strip, it creates a safe, low-voltage light source appropriate for lighting books and private libraries continuously throughout the day or evening hours.
As important as safety is, it is also equally important not to forget the aesthetics of rare book and library lighting. Both the covers of the books and the titles on the spine have to be clearly visible. Light sources that are external to the bookcase tend almost always prove inadequate for this task because the sides of the bookcase and front ends of shelves cast shadows over the books. Mounting book lights internally within bookcases can also prove challenging if the lights are not designed specifically for this task. Any visible fixture can create an eyesore that diminishes the overall presentation of a collection. This calls for a concealed light source such as the Phantom Linear concealed adjustable strip lighting or Linear AE strip. These unobtrusive, wireless fixtures hide unseen under the front bottom surface of shelves, producing a radiant light that illuminates bookshelf space within.
In the past, LEDs were regarded as limited tools for book lighting because early diode technology produced exceptionally cool color temperatures. (Cool color temperature refers to the WHITENESS of light, not to the HEAT radiance of light). This caused objects lit by LEDs to appear ghostly and two-dimensional. In the past few years, all of this has changed. New 2700K LED festoon lamps now rival the color rendering capacities of warm tone xenon lamps. Not only do they produce a better replication of natural colors, but they also produce a higher amount of light itself. Phantom LED book lights can provide bright light, and or they can be dimmed to create mood lighting for a more subtle touch of elegance in ornately furnished rooms, offices, and foyers.
Phantom Linear book lights are custom-engineered for the purposes of low-voltage, concealed, seemingly wireless lighting in private and public libraries. Available in new construction and retrofit models, these small, versatile professional lighting fixtures are the best friend of cabinet makers and interior decorators working in high-end private, public, and commercial libraries.
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