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Topical Briefs
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31.  Censorship in Libraries
(February 2003)
The issue of censorship has plagued libraries for decades and has been a perennial bone of contention between members of the public and library staff as well as among library professionals holding different beliefs and value systems. Those opposed to censorship believe in the fundamental responsibility or raison d’etre of a library to make available materials on topics on all points of view, regardless of the race, nationality, religious adherence or political affiliations of the author. Conversely, proponents of censorship are concerned with the issues of access and availability of controversial or sensitive materials to readers at large. This paper discusses how censorship impacts libraries and examines the roles that librarians play in managing this knotty conundrum.
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32.  Libraries and Sustainable Development
(January 2003)
As it becomes increasingly clear that the earth’s resources are limited, some businesses, government agencies, academic institutions, and other organizations have begun to examine their own roles and development, and attempt to find a balance between economic, social, and environmental goals. This is part of a movement towards "Sustainability," "Sustainable Development," or "Sustainable Growth." Libraries, as important institutions in most communities, find itself with greater roles to play in this aspect. This topical brief gives an introduction to the concept of sustainable development, and illustrates how it applies to the library profession and function, through examples.
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33.  Preservation Policies and Practices in Libraries
(December 2002)
Preservation of library materials – books, other printed volumes, audio-visual materials and digital collections now and for the future is a core activity and value for libraries. It is an integral part of the collection development and management of libraries. The National Library of Australia states that the “main aim of any preservation programme is to maintain and preserve items consistent with their use and significance to the collection. This may require the preservation of the physical format of the item, the preservation of the intellectual content in another format, or the preservation of both the information and the physical format.” (NLA Preservation Policy, 2002).The last decade is said to have seen a great change in approaches to the preservation of library collections. It is felt that the change is based on the realisation that not all materials within the collections can be maintained forever and that the preservation of information may be more important than the preservation of the artefact. (NLA Preservation Policy, 2002).Library preservation includes the following four key functions: planning and policy-making; development of preservation procedures; treatment of library materials; and recording of information of preserved items. This topical brief will focus on planning and policy-making, and the treatment of library materials. In addition, it will also look at some of the issues in digital preservation that are of increasing concern in recent years.
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