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You can still run 32-bit applications on a 64-bit operating system, and the 32-bit applications require 32-bit versions of the libraries they use. This is one reason that you see both packages in yumex. If you only ever use 64-bit apps, then you won't need the 32-bit libraries. But there are certain external packages, say, from source forge or something else not present in a yum repository, that may not be built in a 64-bit version. For these, you need the 32-bit libraries.

Yum, from the command line, will install only the 64-bit if you just ask it to install a library. But if you install an application that pulls in a dependency on a 32-bit library, then yum will pull in the correct version of the dependency. Also, on the command line, you can add ".i686" (for example) to specify that version of a library. Such as:

yum install SDL.i686

In most cases, as long as packages are marked with the correct dependencies, you'll rarely have to do something like that.