Photos, documents, letters, stories, books, and more are the focus of Preservation Week at the end of April each year. The national campaign raises awareness about collecting and preserving family and community history. These bits of history give us glimpses into a community’s relationships, families, and heritage. The day connects the general public to preservation information and expertise. It’s also an opportunity to explore public collections and support their efforts at preservation.
Private and public collections can be explored in many ways. From local to national, libraries, museums, preservation societies, and more carefully collect and archive massive collections of historical items for future generations to explore and learn from. At home, family historians record and organize photos, letters, journals, art and objects of every shape and size.
The American Library Association encourages libraries and other institutions to use Preservation Week to highlight efforts, individually and together, to preserve personal and shared collections.
HOW TO OBSERVE #PreservationWeek
- Visit the Preservation Week website to learn how to preserve family collections.
- Invite a speaker to talk about a preservation topic.
- Attend a public book repair or conservation treatment.
- Join a local heritage society.
- Volunteer to help with preservation efforts in your area.
- Follow on social media with #PreservationWeek #alcts (Association for Library Collections & Technical Services).
PRESERVATION WEEK HISTORY
The American Library Association organized the first Preservation Week in 2010 to highlight the importance of preserving cultural heritage materials.
Society of American Archivists, the American Library Association, the Library of Congress, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and many other cultural heritage organizations promote the observance of Preservation Week.
In 2005 the first comprehensive national survey of the condition and preservation needs of the nation’s collections reported that U.S. institutions hold more than 4.8 billion items. Libraries alone hold 3 billion items (63 percent of the whole). A treasure trove of uncounted additional items is held by individuals, families, and communities. These collections include books, manuscripts, photographs, prints and drawings, and objects such as maps, textiles, paintings, sculptures, decorative arts, and furniture, to give just a sample. They include moving images and sound recordings that capture performing arts, oral history, and other records of our creativity and history. Digital collections are growing fast, and their formats quickly become obsolescent, if not obsolete.