Useful guidance for tricky situation all too common in special collections world.
Thanks to Helen Weller, Archivist at Westminster College, for this guest post. Helen posed a question to the Archives-NRA list asking for advice on providing and invigilating a reading room in a small archive when you are the only member of staff, and this post is Helen’s summary of the guidance she received.
Preparation for the visitor
Almost everyone asks visitors to make an appointment, books only one or two visitors at a time, or books visitors for specified time slots (am or pm). This ensures readers get the help and attention they need!
Most ask users to identify in advance which documents they need, so that these can be waiting (though several people point out that of course, what readers request is not always what it turns out they need!). Opening to visitors half an hour late and closing half an hour early will give you time to prepare…
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