Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Expectations of libraries and archives

Have you used various specialist libraries and archives? How well did they serve you? What do you expect, and how well do the various institutions deliver?

I'm sure I'm reinventing the wheel, but here's a preliminary list of attributes that I look for in a research or specialist library or archives, oriented to the person who needs to visit the institution. Have I missed anything?

Ease of access to the facility (convenient location, good public transport service, parking, accessibility)
Convenient hours of access
Availability and security of personal storage
Effective yet unobtrusive security and facility orientation (how to use, signs)
Availability and cleanliness of washrooms and cafes
Client-orientation approach and desirable ambiance

Ease of identifying what's in the collection and available to view (catalogue, finding aids)
Knowledgeable and accessible consultation staff (archivists and librarians)
Ease of ordering items
Ease of identifying the order status and prompt notification of when and where item available
How long between identifying the need and viewing the material
Availability and condition of self-serve equipment (microform readers, printers, copiers, computer workstations)
Availability, cost and timeliness of copying and photo-reproduction services
Policy and procedures that facilitate use of personal equipment (digital cameras, laptop and smaller computers)
Appropriate environmental conditions for consulting materials (light, noise, temperature)
Accessible services (power, wi-fi)

Please add items I've missed by leaving a comment.

1 comment:

Gadfly said...

An online catalogue that actually works!!!!

AMICUS has been incredibly unreliable since they started to "fix" it.

I've been two hours today trying to get it to show me the second page - of TWO! - of hits for a routine search. It keeps wigging out.