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ARCHIVES Home

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ARCHIVES  April 2006, Week 3

ARCHIVES April 2006, Week 3

Subject:

Re: Policies for Reading Room Use?

From:

AR Hogan <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

AR Hogan <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 18 Apr 2006 12:36:36 -0700

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (138 lines)

The researchers room at the very isolated Smithsonian
National Air and Space Museum Archives in Suitland MD
is also used by stffers for their lunch hour--quite
literally--and researchers must put aside their
materials and wait for an hour for the place to
reopen. That aside, the researchers are very helpful
and well-informed, but I thought the practice rather
bizarre during my two research visits there about
three years ago. Of course, they are given too little
money and too little space. Of course, for decades I
have avoided eating or drinking anything for breakfast
or lunch, so I need not fret about where to consume
those meals.--ar
 

--- Carole Prietto <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> > Does anyone out there have any policies regarding
> the use of their
> > archives' reading room or research area that they
> would be willing to
> > share?  Our Reading Room is being increasingly
> used for other
> > departments' staff meetings, retreats, poetry
> readings, meals (!),
> > you name it. We are trying to rein this in a bit
> for a variety of
> > reasons (can you say "no food in the archives"?),
> but need to
> > present the powers that be (some of whom are the
> culprits in
> > this case) with our reasoning and an idea of what
> > other institutions do would help.
> 
> If the powers that be are part of the problem you
> may not ever be able to
> stop the non-archival use entirely but you might be
> able to, as you say,
> rein it in.
> 
> Hopefully, too, you can re-focus the use a little.
> To some degree the
> problem you're facing is inevitable - special
> collections spaces are often
> made to look nice for the specific purpose of giving
> the library a
> showplace in which to house special events. That
> just comes with the
> territory. It would be one thing if your Reading
> Room were being usurped
> for library development events, exhibit openings and
> the like - events for
> which the venue is part of the attraction and it
> serves the larger goals
> of the library (and make your archives look good in
> the process). But
> department meetings that have nothing to do with
> archives or special
> collections, poetry readings, and meals? Surely
> other spaces exist for
> those things. That, to me, has clearly crossed a
> line.
> 
> You need to state as emphatically as you can that
> the purpose of your
> reading room is to serve your researchers. It's not
> a lunch room, not a
> conference center, not an auditorium, not a retreat
> space. Back that up
> with hard numbers. How many readers do you serve in
> a year? Have these
> other uses been a disruption to readers? How many
> times and how many
> readers affected?  Has it impacted your ability to
> have faculty bring
> their classes in? If so, how many times, which
> faculty, how many students?
> If the faculty have been affected, can you enlist
> their support? If you
> can, milk it for all it's worth. The library brass
> may have more power
> than you do, but even they don't want to get the
> faculty angry at them.
> 
> Not an easy problem and one you may not ever
> completely solve.
> Good luck!
> 
> Carole Prietto
> Daughters of Charity Westral Province
> (formerly Washington University, where the spec.
> staff was very efficient
> at transforming the Reading Room at a moment's
> notice)
> St. Louis, Missouri
> 
> A posting from the Archives & Archivists LISTSERV
> List sponsored by the Society of American
> Archivists, www.archivists.org.
> For the terms of participation, please refer to
>
http://www.archivists.org/listservs/arch_listserv_terms.asp.
> 
> To subscribe or unsubscribe, send e-mail to
> [log in to unmask]
>       In body of message:  SUB ARCHIVES firstname
> lastname
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> To post a message, send e-mail to
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> 
> Or to do *anything* (and enjoy doing it!), use the
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>     
> http://listserv.muohio.edu/archives/archives.html
> 
> Problems?  Send e-mail to Robert F Schmidt
> <[log in to unmask]>
> 


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