02 August 2015

Research Room Hours

It is a little appreciated fact that much of library, special collections, and archival work requires blocks of concentrated and exclusive time to perform. In this YouTube video filmed as part of Bryan Jenkins's final Library School project, Deborah Bloom (Richland County Public Library's Local History Librarian) explains how 90-95% of the work we do in special local history collections and archives units is done away from the Reference desk. 

At the present time the Research Room is open Mondays and Fridays, 10 am to 5 pm to anyone over age 12 interested in doing research about the history, Gullah culture, archaeology, genealogy and natural history of this part of South Carolina - except when it isn't. However, access to the BDC Research Room and to professional expertise is by advance appointments only on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays - except when it isn't. These exceptions are posted here in Connections, on Facebook, on the Library's website, and around the building as soon as we become aware of the exceptions. For example, July 2015 had a number of exceptions.  As of this writing, there are no scheduled adjustments for August 2015. Of course, that may change and if it should, we will announce those changes as soon as possible.

What happens in the Research Room on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays? A number of things: One-on-one research consultations with customers who've made an appointment in advance to do so;  creation and maintenance of  content for the "Virtual BDC; outreach such as talking to community groups about the rare and unique materials we provide; planning, coordinating, and delivering local history programs or genealogy training sessions throughout the Library system; digitization of rare and unique materials for museum or scholarly projects; attending library and archival meetings; selecting and ordering materials for the BDC and the local history sections at the branch libraries; and performing preservation tasks. There are always more work to do than there are hours to do it.

Research Tip of the Decade: If you are going to travel to a special collections/archives/museum/ or other cultural heritage institution, check current hours of operations before you leave home. The past decade has been very hard on the cultural heritage community.  Few institutions have emerged untouched by the Great Recession.  Visit the institution's web, blog, or Facebook pages for a number to call or an e-mail address to confirm availability. Experienced researchers know to do this at least a week in advance of a visit.

The prudent action for those who want to work within the Beaufort District Collection Research Room is to call 843-255-6468 or e-mail gracec@bcgov.net ahead of time to make arrangements. Please understand that we cannot make same day appointments for Tuesdays, Wednesdays, or Thursdays. 

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