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April 24-30: Preservation Week at Your Library


April 2011 - CHICAGO - This spring, many Americans will be cleaning out old closets, store rooms, attics and basements, struggling with what to do with keepsake items. From April 24 30, thousands will turn to their local library to celebrate the Preservation Week @ your library, a time when libraries across the country will provide information and expertise on how to preserve collectables, photos, family records and other valuable materials.

During Preservation Week @ your library, themed "Pass it on," participating libraries will offer special programs and services that will help connect library users with preservation tools; promote the importance of preservation; and will strive to enhance knowledge of preservation issues among the general public.

"Preservation Week @ your library comes along at a perfect time for families to start thinking about how to preserve family keepsakes," said ALCTS president Cynthia Whitacre. "Old photographs, letters, collectables and family movies play a key role in preserving family history, and we want to let everyone know that their local library is there to help."

Over 4.8 Billion artifacts are held in public trust by more than 30,000 archives, historical societies, libraries, museums, scientific research collections and archaeological repositories in the United States. Some 2.6 billion items are not protected by an emergency plan such as national disasters, and 1.3 billion of these items are at risk of being lost. If billions of items are at risk at our heritage institutions, than plausibly trillions of items held by the general public are at risk.

Key environmental factors that place collections at risk include light, pollutants, moisture and heat. Items that can benefit from preservation both at home and in U.S. collections include books, manuscripts, photographs, prints and drawings, objects such as maps, textiles, paintings, sculptures, decorative arts and furniture. They also include moving images and sound recordings that capture performing arts, oral history and other records of our creativity and history.

Recognizing the critical role libraries play in preservation, the Association for Library Collections and Technical Services (ALCTS), a division of the American Library Association, in partnership with the Library of Congress and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, launched Preservation Week @ your library in 2010. It is the first national awareness campaign targeting collections preservation awareness for the general public by strengthening community partnerships for preservation.

For more information on Preservation Week @ your library please visit www.ala.org/preservationweek.

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