Designing a preservation and conservation policy for City High School Library
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This study was conducted with the goal of creating a preservation and conservation policy for City High School’s library. According to the National Library of Australia (2004), one of the major crises facing libraries throughout the world is the rate of deterioration of their collections. Since library materials, for example those in City High School’s library, are composed primarily of organic materials, they are subject to natural deterioration. Most libraries’ collections today are based on paper - either in book or sheet form - bound volumes, newspapers, serials, manuscripts, maps, water colours, prints and drawings. This highlights the need for a library to adopt a comprehensive and tailor-made preservation and conservation policy to provide the users of the library with guidelines that govern how information materials are best handled to minimise the effects of deterioration. In light of this, the study was carried out by interviewing the school’s librarians with focus placed on identifying the types of information materials held in City High School’s library, the steps taken by the librarians to preserve and conserve these materials, the challenges faced in carrying out these steps, the possible solutions to these problems and ultimately creating a preservation and conservation policy for the library. The study found that, as expected, the library kept mostly paper-based materials and that there existed, albeit minimal and unguided, some form of preservation and conservation happening within the library. The major causes of deterioration of materials in the library revolved around biological factors like insects, and climatic factors like heat and humidity. The librarians mostly carried physical conservation with minimal digital conversion and virtually no chemical treatment of the materials taking place. In carrying out these activities, the library staff reported an array of challenges with the lack of training, incomplete infrastructure and insufficient work tools being the most prominent. However both the school and library management have undertaken some initiatives to try and moderate these challenges for example shade trees have been planted to control the heat, the fluorescent lights in the library have been fitted with diffusers, the library increased its use of garbage bins, among others. It is from this feedback that the researcher has been able to draft a comprehensive preservation and conservation policy for City High School’s library.