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May 10, 2010 (Chicago) --This May 9–15, the American Library Association (ALA) will launch its first-ever Preservation Week @ your library, a time when thousands will turn to libraries across the U.S. for 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 strive to enhance knowledge of preservation issues among the general public.


“Libraries offer more than just books, they also are an excellent resource for high-quality information and expertise on how to preserve family keepsakes,” said ALA President Camila Alire. “Preserving items such as old photographs, letters, collectables and family movies, provides a map of the past and access to a full range of information that can impact the future.”


Why is preservation so important? 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.


Preservation Week @ your library is a collaborative effort supported by the Association for Library Collections and Technical Services, a division of the American Library Association, The Library of Congress, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services.


For more information on Preservation Week @ your library please visit

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