The study explains preservation and conservation of library materials. In order to achieve this, causes of deterioration of library materials such as poor paper manufacture, improper storage, rough handling, pests and knowledge of disaster occurrence, electronic means of preservation, challenges and strategies for digital materials preservation have been examined. The total population for the study is 200 staff of Imo state public library Owerri. The researcher used questionnaires as the instrument for the data collection. Descriptive Survey research design was adopted for this study. A total of 133 respondents made up librarians, library cafe assistant managers, senior staff and junior staff was used for the study. The data collected were presented in tables and analyzed using simple percentages and frequencies
1.1 Background of the study
To understand the meaning and scope of preservation and conservation of library materials in public library, the definition of public library in digital age becomes relevant. That is for discussion to be intelligible; it must start with definition of terms. Therefore, library has defined by many writers and many Authors have attempted to define a library without success. Elmer D. Johnson (1970) defines a library as a collection of graphic materials arranged for relatively easy use, carded for an individual familiar with that arrangement and available for use by at least a limited number of persons. Here is another satisfactory definition of the library by UNESCO, that a library is an organized collection of published books and periodical and of other reading and audio-visual materials, and the service of staff able to prove and interpreter such materials as are required to meet the informational research, educational or recreational needs of the user’s.
Aguolu (1989) still go further to say that library can be described as a place where the dead may be said to be alive a place where the ideal of the knowledge of great men and women are fully documented and preserved, conducive to move the world at though those people may be no more. In order words, it is a place where the information seeker or knowledge seeker communicates with authors both living and dead.
The world library is derived from the term “LIBER” a representation of ‘book’ this public library is major meant to serve the public there by increasing the literacy level of the people in that community by carrying out extension services. Furthermore the key term of this work are: preservation, conservation, library materials and to appreciate and understand this work better, the definition of the following terms becomes necessary. According to the world bank encyclopedia (1990) conservation means management, protection and wise use of the resources as library is noted as organized information resources through experts, store manage the resources, preserve, conserve them for effective use and easy access to use and easy access to users all kinds of level. World book dictionary (1996) still put conservation in a simplest term as an act of conserving, protecting from loss or being used up, avoidance of waste.
Vol. 2 of World Bank Dictionary 91996) still go further to say that preservation is the act of preserving keeping safe. Still on preservation, is the restoration of the original nature of the materials that is keeping it in it’s original nature. Alegbeleye (1985) define conservation as a term that embraces several related idea such as (i) restoration which is the action taken to correct deterioration of all kind and also maintain the items in as near as possible in their original form (ii) substitution which has to do with the replacement of the original by microfilm digitalization for regular use.
Mean while, restoring materials to its original nature is what we know as conservation and a way of using a materials by making an effort to see that materials are not made home use rather you make photocopy and return back for preservation. A distinction between preservation and conservation is a method of applying the physical or chemical treatment of library materials to sustain them in their original state.
Considering preservation and conservation in a digital age, we consider about digital repository service to support not only day to day access to digital age challenge a libraries and archivist to create an appropriate organizational context for action. Digital technologist is erasing many of the distinction between custodians of articles libraries and other repository that traditionally have assumed responsibilities for preserving information face technical, legal and organizational challenges in responding to new demands of digital preservation. According to the Russell (1999) digital preservation in a simplest term means a process by which digital data is preserved in digital form in order to ensure the usability, durability and intellectual integrity of the information contained therein on that note, we have the following as a library services obligation towards preservation. To keep technical development in the conservation field under review to utilize those which are suitable and incorporate them into the strategy to provide added benefit and more effective operations? To do everything possible to minimize damage from use, promoting good practice in handling.
To promote best practice amongst staff and readers in seeking to ensure the security of materials which has been selected for permanent preservation to maintain agreed standard of preservation through library services? Therefore it is highly imperative that materials acquired in the library should be taken care of.