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). Some 630 million items in collecting institutions require immediate attention and care. 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 (LOC).
Preserving library collections
In Special Collections and University Archives we have many dedicated librarians and archivists who help routinely preserve our collections through housing and arranging archival collections. This includes careful consideration and mitigation of key environmental risk factors such as light, pollutants, heat, and moisture. We are also fortunate to have the technical expertise and assistance of conservation technicians in the Beach Conservation Lab, who provide services in conservation, preservation and housing of paper-based collection materials in SCUA, and to all other units of the Library.
Take a behind the scenes look in the Beach Conservation Lab to see the important work being done to preserve UO’s collections.
Sources: “A Public Trust at Risk: The Heritage Health Index Report on the State of America’s Collections,” Library of Congress. For additional information regarding Preservation Week, please visit www.ala.org/preservationweek.