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Caring for your collections: Getting started

This guide will help you look after your own books and papers. It will also explain how to get your books valued.

Artlab consultation days

Artlab Australia provides consultation days which are held between 9.00am and 5.00pm on the first and third Thursdays of the month.

You can also contact the State Library's Senior Conservation Officer by email or phone: (08) 8207 7264.

Archival products

These companies are commercial providers of archival products such as acid free photo albums and archival boxes for storing your papers.

Getting started

People often seek advice on how to take care of cherished personal items, handed down through the family, which they hope to pass on in good condition to the next generation. This LibGuide provides some practical and simple ways to care for your personal records.

One option is to donate them to a suitable archival repository, to ensure their long-term preservation and to make them available to the wider community. The State Library always welcomes the opportunity to appraise original records for the archival collections, when they relate to South Australians or South Australia, are of state significance and have enduring research value.

If you would like to discuss this option for your records, please contact the Library's archival field officers.

Telephone (08) 8207 7260 or (08) 82077342

Fax (08) 8207 7307

Email the Archival Field Officer or the Coordinator Collection Development.

The Archival Field Officers can also discuss donating under the Cultural Gifts Program or the Philanthropy Program

Practical hints

Use only:
* Acid-free containers
* Polypropylene sleeves
* Acid-free paper, tissues and cloth
* Pencils and pens approved for writing captions on back of photos

* Lamination
* Sticky tape
* Glue
* Mounting items with glue onto cardboard or masonite
* Writing with biro
* Sticking post-it notes onto actual items as they may leave a sticky residue
* Old style plastic sleeves, which will cause documents and photographs to fade and discolour rapidly. They may also make removal of your item difficult, due to internal adhesion.
* Sunlight or bright light falling direct onto items
* Boxes on the floor (keep them above the floor on clean shelving)
* Extremes and rapid fluctuations of temperature and humidity
* Dust and pests (insects and vermin).
* Keeping archival records in old sheds, or under leaky roofing, or in damp, dusty or dirty areas, or without fire protection.
* Using starch based loose packing materials to protect items from breakage (insects will be attracted to the starch and create pest management problems).

Sensible precautions:
* Make notes about any items of historical interest, and keep these with the item, or in a safe place, so the information is not lost.
* Make lists of the contents of boxes and keep them in the front of each box. Label your boxes.
* Make a list of who is to inherit which items and label them with that person's name.
* Consider making a bequest in your will stating who is to receive which items. Monetary donations and Bequests can be made to the Libraries Board of South Australia. For information email the Manager Marketing and Development, or phone (08) 8207 7221.
* Consider whether your archival records may be of interest to all South Australians. If so, we suggest you talk to the Archival Field Officer about your intentions as soon as possible, as your own knowledge about your personal records is invaluable. You can email or phone on (o8) 8207 7260.

Who we are

State Library of South Australia
GPO Box 419
Adelaide SA 5001
(08) 8207 7250

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