The State Library is committed to keeping its collections in the appropriate environmental conditions and to preserving them for future generations.
The collection includes items made from a variety of materials. At the State Library, conservators care for more traditional materials such as audio visual, photographs, books, microfilm, artworks and paper based items. The Library also holds items which are not commonly expected, such as a sword, a whale tooth and sculptures.
The Library looks after its collection by undertaking preventative conservation. Conservation activities include, monitoring the environment, an integrated pest management program, ensuring proper storage conditions according to the nature of the items and careful handling at all times. We undertake conservation treatments when appropriate, by carrying out technical and scientific assessment on objects, stabilising the materials and structure of damaged objects. Conservators look at the social, cultural and historical context of items to assist with making ethical treatment decisions, hence why treatments can vary as well as being complex.
Information regarding how to care for your own treasures is readily available online. The Australian Institute for the Conservation of Cultural Material (AICCM) has an extensive list of private conservators as well it supplies tips on how to look after your prize possessions. Other Australian Institutions such as the Australian War Memorial, National Film and Sound Archive, National Archives of Australia and the National Museum of Australia will also supply useful information on materials conservation.
Digitial preservation practices at the State Library work towards ensuring Western Australian digital items remain accessible in the future. Special care must be taken with digital content due to its fragility and exposure to rapid obsolescence of hardware and software.
The National and State Libraries of Australasia's Personal Digital Archive Toolkit and short film, Preserving Your Digital Treasures will provide you with information on how to preserve your own digital treasures.