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SPRI Review 1998: Library and Information Service

Library and Information Service

W.J. Mills, Keeper and Librarian

Clearly this has been a year like no other. Writing from the peace and comparative order of our beautiful new library, one can look back to the noise, disruption and chaos characterizing much of the year. Building the Shackleton Memorial Library involved wholesale removal of collections from all areas, a move required by the contractors. To make room for these, the Map Collection had to be moved from the second to the ground floor into space vacated by the Museum. Much of the Periodicals Collection was then moved to the second floor. Throughout the building period, we operated on the principle that all collections should remain accessible, a goal substantially achieved with the exception of some periodical titles during the last months of construction. As former areas of the building were again made available and new areas opened up for use, these collections were progressively moved out of their temporary accommodation and into the Shackleton Memorial Library. Despite the apparent order now reigning, this process is in fact a continuing one and much remains to be done before we can claim to have everything where we want it! Along with the logistical complications went a very considerable degree of discomfort, noise, and general disturbance, all of which were endured in the true spirit of polar exploration, for which comfort is an eagerly anticipated but seldom experienced luxury! Our Visiting Scholars and readers showed exceptional powers of concentration in continuing with their research regardless. Their tolerance and good humour were very much appreciated. The library staff responded by producing a record-breaking cataloguing year with 16,506 records, considerably up on last year's previous record of 13,772. This figure will be difficult to match.