I've recently received som items that had been my grandmother's and they had a very musty odor to them. Now from past experience, I knew that this odor is difficult to remove so I finally put a query on Y!Answers and got some very good advise. Here are a couple that I've tried that worked very well.
1. If you can wash the item just add about 1/8 cup of ammonia with the soap to the tub of laundry and the smell will magically disappear. CAUTION: Be sure that there is NO clorine bleach in your laundry detergent before adding the ammonia or you will produce a deadly gas.
2. Some of the things were skeins of yarn and I didn't want to handle them to wash so another suggestion was to put cedar wood into a box with the item for a couple of days and the odor would disappear. Since I didn't have any cedar, I purchased some of the cedar oil you can use to refresh cedar items and sprayed it on the sides and lid of the box being sure to protect the yarn with an old towel. After a few days the odor was mostly gone.
3. Since another suggestion was to hand items out in the sunshine and fresh air for a day, I threaded a small rope through the skeins of yarn and hung them in the sunshine for a day and they now smell fresh and ready to use.
Next I plan to use the box and cedar oil spray method with old books and see if it will remove the odor from paper without damaging it. I'll let you know if this works.