The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 26, Number 6
Oct 2003

Essential Elements for Starting a Library Preservation Program

by Patricia K. Turpening

This article is for you if you are in one of these categories: you have already identified the preservation of your materials as an area of concern, if your collection contains books valuable to your constituencies because of local interest or rarity, if you wonder what to do with numerous nineteenth- and early twentieth-century books printed on brittle paper, or if your library has books damaged by untrained but well-meaning staff members. At least one of these scenarios probably describes a great many of you.

Many elements are necessary to start and maintain a successful preservation program. Each one discussed here can be implemented independently, but a comprehensive program designed to have the greatest impact on a library's collections must include every one of them.

Making the tough decisions needed to preserve library materials is an essential part of managing a library. Think about your own collection. Can you readily identify volumes in need of attention? Has a water leak been patched but not entirely fixed? Are you spending too much money to have books rebound which could be repaired in-house? Do you have a number of books set aside for attention but no one trained to make repairs? Your materials are too valuable to be ignored once they are purchased and shelved. These tips will help you to make strides to preserve them. Good luck in your efforts!

This article originally appeared in AALL Spectrum, v.6 no. 7 (April 2002), p. 10-11.

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