Norfolk County Council has launched a consultation on a series of changes that it proposes making next year in order to make significant budget savings. The Norfolk Record Office (NRO) falls within the scope of these changes and needs to make a budget saving of £75,000.
The consultation closes on 23rd December 2018.
Details of where to find the consultation document and the feedback form may be found at the end of this news item.
In short, the proposals are that the NRO reduces its public searchroom hours. This would mean the searchroom opening:
· four days per week instead of five
· at 10am instead of 9 or 9.30am
· on one Thursday until 7pm instead of every Thursday.
This would reduce the NRO’s searchroom hours from 41.5 hours per week to 28 or 30 hours. It would provide most of the staffing needed to keep the NRO’s income generation and digitization / remote access services running. However, there would also be reductions in the conservation, document processing, education and volunteers programmes the NRO runs, although these would not be as substantial as the changes in opening hours.
The full consultation document can be found at https://norfolk.citizenspace.com/consultation/nro/
These proposals aim to keep the NRO running as a dynamic and forward-looking service whilst recognizing there have been significant changes in patterns of use over the past fifteen years.
Unsurprisingly, there has been a significant drop in the number of visitors using microfilms since these sources became available online. At the same time, the number of people using original documents (the remaining 94% of the Collection) has remained fairly constant. (Although, again there has been a change in how the service is used – digital cameras enable many of our researchers to use their searchroom time more effectively and carry on their research at home). Taking all of these factors into account, it seems that use of the NRO Collection, although different, has never been higher.
The proposals would enable the NRO to continue making progress on its long-term strategy aimed at ensuring the service is fit for the 21st century. Six priority areas have been identified covering all aspects of the service. These include:
· developing skills and workflows to preserve digital records and take advantage of new technologies
· creating extensive descriptive metadata through collaborative work to open up archives to new, inexperienced users
· working with the local community archives and heritage groups to develop a sustainable Norfolk archive ecology
Click here to open the consultation document (pdf) in a separate table or window.
Click here to open the 10 page consultation feedback form in a separate tab or window.