September 7, 2020, by Kathryn Steenson
Reading Room Reopening!
After almost six months working from home (more about that here) Manuscripts & Special Collections is reopening the Reading Room! We have made changes to our Reading Room procedures to minimise the risk from coronavirus, so even if you’ve visited us before, please read this explaining what you can expect from your visit.
New temporary opening hours
The Reading Room is open Tuesday-Thursday, 10am to 12.30pm and 1.30pm to 4.00pm, with an hour for lunch and to allow staff to clean.
From the 6th January 2021, we will be open to University of Nottingham staff and students only.
We will review opening up appointments to all visitors again once lockdown ends.
Click and Collect
If all you want to do is return a book, or pick up a book you’ve reserved from the Click and Collect service, then you’re welcome to pop in at any time during our opening hours, no need to make an appointment.
Returned books should be put in the labelled box. Items for collection are on the Click and Collect shelves near the door. These haven’t been automatically loaned to your account, so please take them to the desk and we will issue them to you contactlessly.
Reserve your Reading Room Seat
It’s best to email us: firstname.lastname@example.org. To comply with social distancing measures, we’ve reduced the number of seats available to six. If you want to use archives or special collections material, then you have to reserve your place. Please don’t turn up without an appointment as we aren’t able to accept walk-ins. It will be helpful to give us as much notice in advance as possible, but at least a minimum of two working days. You can book for a half day or a full day.
All visitors will have an allocated seat reserved for them, and bookings are restricted to a maximum of two people per group, to ensure that everyone who wants to come in has a fair chance. If you decide to cancel or change the date of your visit, please email us as we may be able to give your place to someone else. We are quarantining material between visitors, and we will do our best to tell you if something you’ve requested is unavailable.
You can search for material in advance from our manuscript and library catalogues. Tell us which document references or books you want to see (and what you’d like to see first) and they will be ready for you when you arrive. If you request a large quantity of material, please indicate what you would like to see first, and don’t worry: you can order more during your visit. Any requests made before midday will be brought to the Reading Room during the lunch period and will be available from 1.30pm.
The East Midlands Collection is available to browse on the shelves in the Reading Room. Please use the hand sanitiser before going into the stacks, and only one person can be in the aisle at a time. All of the D H Lawrence reference books have been removed, but this actually has nothing to do with coronavirus: we have started work on a cataloguing project and they’re being used by the project staff!
On the day
If this is your first visit to Manuscripts & Special Collections, or your reader ticket is more than three years old, please bring some I.D. which shows your name and address (or your University of Nottingham library card, if you have one) and complete the short registration form and email it back to us. We will then issue you with a reader’s ticket that must be produced on each subsequent visit.
Please do not come to the Reading Room if you have symptoms of coronavirus or you have been advised to self-isolate within the last two weeks.
The University’s policy is that visitors wear a face covering of some kind when inside the building, and keep it on for the duration (except when you’re eating or drinking).
Please wash your hands or use the hand sanitiser provided before entering the Reading Room. If you’re using archive or special collections material, then make sure your hands are dry before handling the documents. Wearing gloves isn’t usually good for the documents, as the loss of dexterity can mean it’s more likely that fragile documents will be damaged, no matter how careful people are.
We can only bring out more material over the lunch period, so please double-check the reference numbers before you order, and think about how much you will realistically get through in a half-day.
A copying service is available depending on the size and condition of the material in question, and for some collections you may be able to purchase a permit to take photos with your own camera. Due to the restricted number of staff allowed in the department – our offices aren’t as spacious as the Reading Room! – we might not be able to provide a same-day copying service. We prefer contactless card or bank transfer, but we will still accept cash payments.
Toilets in the building are open but the onsite café is closed, and there are limited refreshment facilities, anywhere on campus. There is a water cooler and a vending machine selling snacks and drinks. We strongly recommend that you bring food or drink, as the nearest shops are a 15 minute walk away from campus. There is some seating available inside, and if the weather is pleasant there are plenty of benches in the gardens.
We will reserve a locker for you, for your bags, coats, refreshments and personal bottles of hand gel, as these cannot be taken into the reading room. Please bring a £1 coin which will be returned after use.
You can bring your own laptop, and in fact we encourage it. Free WiFi is available in the reading room. Visitors from outside the University of Nottingham can register in advance for a guest account or register on the day. The accounts are valid for 7 days. To register for a WiFi account, please go to http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/it-services/services/wireless/uonguest.aspx.
Email us if you want to make an appointment, order some copies of documents, or have any questions about visiting. This information is correct as of today, but obviously the situation is subject to change and we will do our best to notify you of any substantial changes to the procedures.
We look forward to seeing you soon!