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Government Of Assam Department of Cultural Affairs Directorate of Library Services

Preservation and Conservation of library materials

Preservation and conservation are used in alternative to explain the judicious and wise use of valuable books and treating them in scientific way so to be easily accessible. Though these are two different entities where:

Conservation is the systematic aspect of- examine the status of a book and knowing the cause of deterioration and alternation, preserving the book by knowing the cause by taking measures to prohibit the detoriaration and restoration to take proper remedial treatment of already effected specimen.

So preservation is not equivalent with conservation but only an aspect of conservation.

Conservation can only be successful only when its key aspect 'Preservation' is done properly.

Preservation of books in day to day scenario is done in two ways-

  • Manual preservation: hardcopy of information in the form of books which are the main property of a library are usually affected by pests, fungi or bacteria which result in the damage of various precious and ancient books. Also different physical agents of nature like heat, water, dust etc can also be damaging factors because of direct expose to these.

    Various methods that are being used now a days are using of fungicide pesticide sprays and using of naphthalene in pages and preserving them in high shelfs. But these remedies come with some harmful consequences. Such as accidental licking of fingers when turning of pages of books treated with chemical treatment can bring harmful ingestion of diseases as they are poisonous for human health.

    Instead of it if the preservation section is made with adequate lighting facilties and air conditioned surrounding so that it do not get exposed to dust which is the main factor of arising of pests like silverfish, cockroach rodents and beetles. The bookshelves should be kept clean and dry free of humidity and natural methods of preservation like using neem leaves in pages can be effective one.

    The readers should be also cautious with the health of their book of interest. Folds in pages and tearing of pages shold be stopped. Binding of old books should be done and a day shold be taken only to check the status of different books and for systematic preservation.

  • Digital preservation: with the advancement of science and technology there exists different digitised preservation methods too. Every district library can have their e-library cell where log-ining to their sites people can get the book they desire. Scanning ancient books which are in deteriorating stage can be and very effective and fruitful step.

    Preservation and conservation can only be effective if there is mutual help of readers and library authority. The reader have to understand the thing and concept has been done exclusively for their benefit and should not ignore thinking that it is for public interest. Every individual makes a sum of public. This should be keep in mind. On the other hand the library authority should be dignified with their duty and should be active with the work.