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PROFESSOR COHEN: In recent years, the library profession quite properly has been concerned with providing maximum accessibility of its collections and services to the reader. An unfortunate byproduct of this enlightened view, however, has been a popular deprecation of the traditional custodial role of the librarian. To avoid the stereotypic image of the over-protective librarian, zealously guarding the collection against the user, many libraries have neglected their proper responsibility for conservation and preservation. Forty years ago, back in 1941, one librarian said: ". . . the current Messianic emphasis on the dissemination of knowledge through books has resulted in undue neglect of the conservation of knowledge in books" (G. Flint Purdy, 66 Library Journal 144, February 1941). Valuable materials are being lost through deterioration of book paper and binding, careless photocopying, poor storage conditions and other natural hazards and reader abuses. Accessibility and dissemination require that the library's materials be available for use, but also that they be handled and maintained in a manner consistent with their survival for future readers.

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The Law Library Rare Book Room, 73 Law Library Journal 839 (1980)

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