The Future of The Past: Preservation of, and Access to, Legal Deposit Materials at the Msunduzi Municipal Library, Pietermaritzburg
This article is based on part of a study that investigated preservation of, and access to, legal deposit materials at the Msunduzi Municipal Library1. Constant access to legal deposit materials will depend on proper preservation methods from the time they are first produced. The focus was to identify how the different materials are preserved and stored especially since every institution has unique needs with regard to the climatic conditions of the area. The study also examined challenges faced by the depository, skills and knowledge of the depository staff about preventative preservation methods, resources for conservation, and collection management strategies. The methods to help make materials accessible were established by examining the means and processes used. Using methodological triangulation which included a self-administered questionnaire, in-depth interviews, observation and collection of graphic data findings indicate that there are inadequate preservation activities and strategies for legal deposit materials at Msunduzi Municipal Library. The legal deposit collection was at risk of being lost and inaccessible to present and future generations. This was mostly due to lack of preservation activities and strategies as a result of lack of knowledge in preservation, adequate funding, staff training, preservation policies, environmental control of stack rooms, proper handling and storage of materials.
Keywords: Public Libraries Africa, Preservation of Library Materials, Legal Deposit of Books South Africa
ESARBICA Vol. 27 2008: pp. 88-116