This study is on the preservation and conservation of library materials in public libraries. The case study is of Imo state library board. The survey method of investigation was used with questionnaire and interview as instruments for data collection. The study was able to determine the nature and size of library and materials, methods of preservation and storage and the facilities used as well as its level of adequacy. It also ascertained the problem encountered in preservation and conservation of library materials in public library. Based on the findings of the study, recommendation were made on how to improve the preservation and conservation of library materials such as provision of adequate funds in the area of conservation and preservation programme, provision for adequate facilities, provision of accommodation and appropriate library building, employing of more staff and those trained in the preservation and conservation programme, also the library management should have a good maintenance policy.

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The goal of any library center is to provide library and information materials to the library users. The library is not complete without information materials to meet the needs of the libraries users.
According to the library collorsary, public are those library or libraries arranged for the public including students of institution of higher learning. They are also libraries that are established, maintained and administered to the public by the government, organizations or private individuals, to meet peoples educational and research objectives. A public library has a qualified staff with a special training in a particular subject or methodology and offers specialized and usually personalized services. The library users are usually undergraduates, graduates, academic and non academic staff, and accredited research workers. It has in its stock all research facilities, documentaries, bodes and at times books in antiquities and incunabula, works on science and humanities abound. Public libraries receive grants, endowment, subventions as sources of their income. As a repository of knowledge, the library has a very vital role to play in dissemination of information materials and in order to properly perform their role.
It is important of preserved and stored, so as to enhance effective use of the library and information materials in a particular place until it is needed. It aims at promoting quick access, location and retrieval of materials in the libraries and information center without adequate storage, location and retrieval become difficult.

One of the chief concerns in library administration and operations is the conservation and preservation of library materials, an area, which for too long, has been neglected. Faced with rapid deterioration of collections from the ravages of time plus increased widespread use and transportation of materials through networking operations coupled with the rising cost of materials, supplies and staff and other problems associated with inflation, librarians and archivists are finding it increasingly difficult to preserve their collections. It was under this background that the research was carried out.

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.
Meanwhile, restoring materials to it’s 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 from in order to ensure the usability, durability and intellectual integrity of the information contained there in 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.

Imo state public library Owerri started as a building for divisional library services under the umbrella of East central library Board. The creation of Imo state out of the East central took place in the year 1976, the Imo state indigence’ in the former East central state library returned from Enugu to from the numbers of new library board operations.
Furthermore, the state central library was established on 21th Nov. 1976. The assets and liabilities of the former board were shared prior to the movement to Owerri. As time goes on, the new library board began operation with budget of N546832,66 for the financial 1976/77 of the sum N246,832,66 was inherited from he central library board and N300,00 was financial provision by the Imo state Movement. Imo state and Anambra shared considerable quality of new books which had been processed and allocated to the creation of the state. Assets recovered from the sharing exercise include six catalogue cabinets and cards originally meant by Owerri division library. Some filling cabinets and few typewriters. The Imo state public library board was established by edict No 12 1977 which made provision for the composition of board not less than four but not more than six members the appointment of director and a secretary to the board function of the board include engagement of staff. Finding and auditing, legal deposit of publications land acquisition, authenticated of documents, powers to invest and pension benefits.
To crown it all, Imo state library was initially under the ministry of education and information and on separation of education and information as ministry of their own, the library board was placed under the ministry of information culture, youth and sports where it is today.
As earlier stated that the board was appointed on 10th November, 1976 It consist of Prof. A. O. Anya as Chairman and seven members namely, Prof. D.I. Nwogu, Dr. Eze Oqueri, Mrs. Gloria I. Ofo, Mazi F. Nwosu Ezi Mrs. R. Umelo, presently they have Chief C.D.B Williams as chairman, Mr. Jude, C. EjImofor secretary, members are as followed Honourable Augustus Chikekie, Hon. Mike O. Okoro, Mr. P.N.. Iwu, Dr. Samson Nzeribe, Sir C.C. Onuneme.

In the course of preservation and conservation of library materials in the digital age a good number of problems are been encourage like fragile storage media. Technology obsolesces, and we also have legal questions surrounding copying and access as one of the problems that militate against preservation and conservation of library materials. Under the fragile storage media:- most of digital materials are specially vulnerable to loss because they are stored on fragile magnetic media that deteriorate rapidly and can fail suddenly from exposure of heat, humidity etc. then under technology obsolesce. Digital materials becomes unreadable and unnecessary to retrieve information from the media becomes obsolete the information from machine to human readable from is no longer available above are the few problem encountered at course of preserving and conserving library materials.


  • To determine if there is need for preservation and conservation of library materials.
  • To find out whether the equipment for preserving and conserving library materials are adequate.
  • To examine the method applied in preserving and conserving library materials.
  • To find out problems that militates against the preservation and conservation of library materials.


  • Are there needs for preservation and conservation of library materials?
  • What are the techniques and methods for preserving and conserving of library materials?
  • Are there equipments for preserving and conserving library materials?
  • what are the personnel need for preserving and conserving library materials?
  • what are the challenges confronting the preservation and conservation of library materials?
  • Are there panacea to solve the problem of preservation and conservation of library materials?
  • Which staff are involved in the storage and preservation of the materials and to what extent are they adequate?
  • What are the problems that hinder effective storage and preservation of library and information materials in the library?
  • In what ways can the storage and preservation of library and information materials in the library understudy be improved?

The significance or preservation and conservation of library materials cannot be overemphasis because it enhance in keeping those materials for future purpose. Closely related to the above significance is that preservation and conservation of library materials ensure the life long span of those materials in the library.

This work covers preservation and conservation of library materials. The study is on Imo state public library, Board Owerri Imo state. And it equally focuses in the facilities and techniques involved in the conservation and preservation of library materials in public library.

CONSSERVATION: As a term that embraces several related idea such as restoration, which is the action taken to correct deterioration of all kind and also maintain items in as near as possible original form (Alegbeleye, 1985).

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