It’s time for yet another new voice on the blog! I’m Laura, and as Justine hinted at in her last blog post I started work as the new Archives and Local History Public Services Manager on 7th April. Like Justine I have previously worked at the Borthwick Institute for Archives (University of York), and I’ve come back to York after nearly seven years in Edinburgh. It’s going to be my job to make sure that all the public services we offer run smoothly and that we provide visitors with the best possible experience. There’s a lot to organise, but I like a challenge!
As well as introducing myself, it’s also my pleasure to introduce you to our new organisation – ‘Explore York Libraries and Archives’, or ‘Explore’ for short. Explore came into being on 1 May and is a staff-led social enterprise which will be running York’s libraries and archives under an initial five year contract from City of York Council. As a result we are now no longer part of the council, have charitable status and are led by a board of directors. We officially launched Explore with a reception (and cake!) in our Reading Café in Rowntree Park. You can find out more about Explore and what it means for our libraries and archives on the CYC website.
So, turning back to me, how have I spent my first month in post? Well, I’ve been doing a lot of induction work, including reading the Gateway to History project documents so that I’m up to speed on what the new public service should actually look like. I’ve seen a lot of new faces and new places, and despite the service currently being closed I’ve also had an opportunity to see some of the civic archives and get acquainted with the local history collections.
One of my first tasks in post is to create a temporary service for Archives and Local History, which will operate from one of our other libraries whilst York Explore is closed for the final phase of the building work. As a result, I’ve been out with my measuring tape and ended up drawing the room to scale to see how the furniture would fit. After many attempts with various designs, I am now happy I’ve got something that works. Over the next few weeks I’ll also be looking at getting the information we have on our website updated, and putting together a proposal for how we can get details of more of the local history collection onto the library catalogue. More on that in a future post.
One thing that has struck me over the last couple of weeks is just how amazing the Archives and Local History collections actually are, and how lucky we are to have them. I’m really looking forward to creating a new public service that befits the collection – it’s an exciting period in our history, and one that I’m really happy to be part of. Keep an eye on the blog over the coming months to see how things are progressing in the new world of Explore!