The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 18, Number 3
Jul 1994


State Permanent Paper Legislation Encouraged

The Council of the American Library Association, at its annual meeting in Miami, passed the following resolution.

Resolution on Use of Permanent Paper By State and Local Governments

Whereas, State and local governments create and publish records of enduring value that document, define, and protect the rights and responsibilities of those governments and the citizens they serve; and

Whereas, The materials and processes used in paper manufacture are critical factors in determining paper longevity, and therefore, the long-term survival of critical information resources; and

Whereas, It has been documented thoroughly and repeatedly that permanent alkaline papers have a significantly longer shelf life than acidic papers; and

Whereas, The cost of copying deteriorating research materials is extraordinarily high, the National Endowment for the Humanities alone having awarded $50 million during the first five years of its program to support the preservation of brittle books and serials held in the nation's libraries; and

Whereas, Survey results published in North American Permanent Paper (Abbey Publications, 1994) show that at least 387 papers currently manufactured by U.S. and Canadian paper mills qualify as permanent under American National Standard ANSI/ NISO Z39.48-1992, Permanence of Paper for Publications and Documents in Libraries and Archives, and 69 percent of these permanent papers contain some recycled fiber; and

Whereas, Public Law 101-423, passed by Congress and signed by the President on October 12, 1990, states that federal records and publications of enduring value should be produced on acid-free permanent papers as a matter of public policy, and urgently recommends that state and local governments use acid-free permanent papers for publications of enduring value; and

Whereas, The American Library Association, in a resolution adopted on January 10, 1990 (1989-90 CD #53), resolved to stimulate and endorse state legislation requiring the use of permanent paper for appropriate state and local government publications and documents; and

Whereas, The status of permanent paper legislation has not been assessed nationwide since the U.S. National Commission on Libraries and Information Science queried the governors of the fifty states in March 1991; now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the American Library Association encourage the U.S. National Commission on Libraries and Information Science to conduct a survey to identify those states where neither legislation nor an executive order mandates the use of permanent paper for producing state and local documents and publications of enduring value, as an essential first step in renewing efforts to stimulate such legislation.

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