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The American Library Association has designated this week "Preservation Week" to bring attention to preservation needs in libraries, as well as in communities and homes where countless treasures are at risk. "Pass It On: Saving Heritage and Memories" is this year's theme. You can find information and resources on ALA's Website.
From the ALA Website:
Why is preservation important?
In 2005 the first comprehensive national survey of the condition and preservation needs of the nation’s collections reported that U.S. institutions hold more than 4.8 billion items. Libraries alone hold 3 billion items (63 percent of the whole). A treasure trove of uncounted additional items is held by individuals, families, and communities. Some 630 million items in collecting institutions require immediate attention and care. Eighty percent of these institutions have no paid staff assigned responsibility for collections care; 22 percent have no collections care personnel at all. Some 2.6 billion items are not protected by an emergency plan. As natural disasters of recent years have taught us, these resources are in jeopardy should a disaster strike. Personal, family, and community collections are equally at risk.
Key environmental factors that place collections at risk:
--> Light: Ultraviolet rays from natural and artificial sources can cause fading and disintegration.
--> Pollutants: Dust is abrasive and can accelerate harmful chemical reactions.
--> Heat: High temperatures can accelerate deterioration.
--> Moisture: High humidity promotes mold growth, corrosion, and degradation, while excessive dryness can cause drying and cracking. Fluctuations between extremes can cause warping, buckling and flaking.
Key items that should be preserved:
Historical materials that are unpublished and one-of-a-kind, such as: architectural drawings, artifacts, audio and video recordings, diaries, genealogical information, letters, maps, memoirs/reminiscences, minutes/reports, photo albums and photographs, printed materials, professional and business papers, speeches/lectures