Preservation and Conservation of Library Materials, Techniques and Practices: A Case Study of the University of Zambia Libraries

Thumbnail Image
Shameenda, Kimbo Lemmy
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
This research investigated preservation and conservation of library materials, techniques and practices in the University of Zambia Library and its two branches: the Medical Library and the Samora Machel Veterinary Medicine Library. The population of the study were thirty-five library staff, six bindery staff and eleven academic faculty members in the Department of Library and Information Studies at the University of Zambia. Based on a questionnaire survey, interviews, observation and content analysis of key documentary sources, the factors that affect preservation and conservation of library materials in the University libraries were identified. The preservation and conservation issues included all managerial and financial considerations including storage and accommodation, provision, staffing levels, policies, techniques and practices in preserving and conserving library materials and the information contained in them in order to ensure long term access to them. The survey data was evaluated and analysed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS). The data gathered from questionnaires, interviews and observations was presented both graphically and descriptively.The research findings revealed that although the University of Zambia Libraries were involved in the long-term preservation of library materials, they did not provide a well planned preservation and conservation care because preservation aspects were given least priority and conservation programmes were addressed in varying degrees in the libraries. Proper preservation and conservation programmes were necessary because library materials were susceptible to both inherent and environmental factors; materials in the university libraries contain information for study, teaching and research.The study identified lack of preservation and conservation planning, policies and weak commitment from the University of Zambia management on funding of libraries at the University of Zambia. Further, the study identified inadequate programmes and limited preservation and conservation education and training among librarians as other forms of obstacles to effective preservation and conservation of library materials in the university libraries. The study revealed that there was lack of awareness concerning preventive preservation measures, poor handling and use of library materials. In addition, there was lack of reformatting techniques, resulting in preserving and conserving selected materials (predominantly paper-based materials). The study also highlighted presence of dust on library materials due to irregular dusting and cleaning of shelves and storage areas. The study also revealed that lack of conducting preservation surveys and collection maintenance in the university libraries had resulted in lack of reliable data on library materials preservation and conservation activities. The study revealed that there was inadequate security of library materials and lack of disaster preparedness and recovery plans in the University of Zambia Libraries.To improve on the preservation and conservation of library materials and their accessibility and availability for use, the establishment of a preservation committee was recommended in the University of Zambia Library. The committee would aim at increasing awareness and education on preservation and conservation of library materials to the general public through relevant channels; the promotion of the implementation of preservation policies; promotion of communication and cooperation at local, national and international level; addressing national issues such as use of acid-free paper; and initiating research projects.
Books--Conservation , Books--Preservation , Books--Care , Books---Restoration