Close this search box.
Close this search box.

Survey Examines State of Preservation in American College and Research Libraries

subject: Anne Kenney
Deidre Stam
library preservation
preservation programs
preservation statistics
preservation study

CLIR Press Release:

Association of Research Libraries Regional Alliance for Preservation University Libraries Group Council on Library and Information Resources



For Immediate Release: January 7, 2003


Deanna Marcum, CLIR, 202-939-4758
Mary Case, ARL, 202-296-2296
Connie Kearns McCarthy, ULG, 757-221-3055
Jill Rawnsley, RAP, 215-545-0613

Survey Examines State of Preservation in American College and Research Libraries

Washington, D.C.—A new joint study by the Council on Library and Information Resources, Association of Research Libraries (ARL), University Libraries Group (ULG), and Regional Alliance for Preservation (RAP) provides new data on the preservation of library resources today and suggests how professional organizations, consortia, and funding agencies can help academic libraries improve their preservation capabilities.

The study’s methodology, findings, and recommendations are described in a report entitled The State of Preservation Programs in American College and Research Libraries: Building a Common Understanding and Action Agenda, written by Anne R. Kenney and Deirdre C. Stam. The study was supported by a grant from the Institute for Museum and Library Services.

The report draws on both survey and interview data. Sixty-eight institutions participated in the online survey, including 17 midsize universities belonging to the ULG, 10 major non-ARL land-grant institutions, and 41 liberal arts colleges belonging to what is known informally as the “Oberlin Group.” The survey was designed to obtain data from these libraries comparable to information on ARL members that appears in the ARL Preservation Statistics for 2000–2001.

To obtain qualitative data to supplement the survey findings, project staff members conducted extensive onsite interviews at 20 institutions representing ARL, ULG, the non-ARL land grant institutions, and Oberlin Group.

The report confirms that academic libraries of all types are deeply committed to protecting their collections for current and future use, but that resources and expertise vary among institutions, as do assumptions about the nature and scope of preservation. Many libraries, especially the smaller ones, need outside help for their preservation programs in the form of advice, instruction, opportunities for learning, contact with others in the field, involvement in collaborative efforts, and funding.

The report also underscores the challenges facing preservation in a changing information landscape. Just as libraries are working to integrate access to print materials with access to digital materials, there is likewise a challenge to integrate the preservation of analog and digital materials. Yet, the study revealed that preservation is seldom central to the process of strategic planning in libraries.

The report concludes with a series of six recommendations developed by the project’s advisory committee, along with a list of ways in which concerned parties can act on this guidance.

The State of Preservation Programs in American College and Research Libraries
is available on CLIR’s Web site at Print copies will soon be available for ordering through the Web site.

The Council on Library and Information Resources is an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the management of information for research, teaching, and learning. CLIR works to expand access to information, however recorded and preserved, as a public good.

The Association of Research Libraries is a not-for-profit membership organization comprising the leading research libraries in North America. Its mission is to shape and influence forces affecting the future of research libraries in the process of scholarly communication. ARL programs and services promote equitable access to and effective use of recorded knowledge in support of teaching, research, scholarship, and community service.

The Regional Alliance for Preservation is a network of 14 regional preservation and conservation centers that provide information to collections-holding institutions. The centers offer consultation, training, and publications; they cooperate as a national network to further awareness of the importance of preservation of our cultural heritage.

The University Libraries Group brings together directors of comparable, midsize university libraries to share best practices, promote the libraries’ interests, develop benchmarks for assessing quality of service, and discuss current trends in the delivery of information to undergraduate and graduate programs in a range of disciplines.


Return to CLIR Home Page >>

Did you enjoy this post? Please Share!


Related Posts

Skip to content