For immediate release | April 3, 2012

Nation’s libraries provide guidance on how to preserve priceless heirlooms, collectibles

CHICAGO — From April 22-28, libraries across America will celebrate Preservation Week @ your library. Themed "Pass it on," participating libraries 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.

More than 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, with 1.3 billion of these items at risk of being lost.

During the week, libraries will focus on preservation themes including: Monday, LP (vinyl) records; Tuesday, quilts; Wednesday, comic books; Thursday, slides; Friday, digital photos; and Saturday, family letters.

“Preservation week will provide an opportunity for library staff to teach patrons how to care for their family keepsakes,” said Charles Wilt, executive director, Association for Library Collections and Technical Services (ALCTS). “Our goal is to provide the information and the tools to patrons to assist them with preserving things like old photographs that are now yellowing, or great grandma’s quilt. We need to teach the public how to make memories last a lifetime.”

Historical treasures exist outside public institutions. Pieces of lost history can be found in attics and garages.

One such large collection can be found in the home of Brian Schottlaender, “Audrey Geisel University Librarian” at the University of California San Diego. Schottlaender is a collector of classic rock vinyl records, and his collection includes rare albums from Pink Floyd and Captain Beefheart.

“Albums do represent a form of technology that was prevalent for more than 50 years,” he said. “I think it is important that collections of examples of this technology be maintained for the historical record, the cultural record.”

New York Times best-selling author Steve Berry has been named the first national spokesperson for Preservation Week. Berry is the author of nine novels, including his most recent book,“The Jefferson Key,” the seventh in the Cotton Malone series.

A devoted student of history, Berry and his wife, Elizabeth, founded History Matters, a nonprofit organization dedicated to aiding the preservation of the fragile reminders of our past. Since then, they have traveled the world raising much-needed funds for a wide range of historic preservation projects.

Preservation Week is a joint initiative of the Association for Library Collections and Technical Services (ALCTS), the Library of Congress and IMLS, and was started in 2010 because some 630 million items in collecting institutions require immediate attention and care.

For more information on Preservation Week @your library please visit . Downloadable artwork, events information, videos and additional resources please visit the Preservation Week press kit at

ALCTS is a division of the American Library Association (ALA). Comprised of nearly 4,000 members from across the United States and 42 countries from around the globe, ALCTS is the premier resource for information specialists in collection development, preservation, and technical services.


Christine McConnell