Monday, June 18, 2018

Closed Access

I am a member of four local genealogy/family history groups that provide access to print and digital resources for their members. The cost of purchasing, housing and maintaining these collections is high so it is important that members who provide the $$$ for these collections should be able to access them easily.

Two of these groups work with and are supported by their local libraries. Their family history resources are shelved in open access in the local libraries and are available to group members, the local community and visitors to the library during the hours the libraries are open seven days a week.

Family History Resources at a local library
The other two groups have their collections housed in rooms leased from local authorities. One group provides access to resources for sixteen hours per week during the middle of the day. The other group only  provides access on one weekday and one weekend day totalling about ten hours per month. For the remainder of the time the resources of these groups are locked away and not accessible by users.

One problem is that those societies who house their own resources rely on volunteers to open the rooms to fellow members and volunteers are thin on the ground. Sadly some groups don't want to share resources purchased with membership dollars with outsiders.

It makes me so sad to see these valuable collections locked away. Invariably I am otherwise engaged when the doors to these collections are unlocked so I miss out on gaining access.

If I find myself in the area where the collection stored at the local library and find myself with half an hour up my sleeve I can pop in for a quick spot of research.

I wish more genie groups would approach their local authorities and work on ways to make their resources more accessible. 

6 comments:

Rosemary said...

Our local society had a private library until 2 years ago. The cost of maintaining it became too much and the committee found a local university with a new branch library that was thrilled to take quite a bit of the collection. The rest was sold off to members. The university library, of course, is open to the public because it is a state university and not a private one.

crgalvin said...

Hear, hear!

Alona Tester said...

You said it well Jill. I've been frustrated by the minimal opening hours by a local society, which prohibits me going since it's only for a few hours, during the day, once a week. I would love to go and spend whole weekends there ... and dream of the research I could do, alas it won't happen in the near future.

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