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Home :: Archive :: 2007 :: August ::
Shakespeare Centre Library
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 18.0522  Monday, 13 August 2007

[1] 	From: 		Stanley Wells <
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	Date: 		Saturday, 11 Aug 2007 11:55:50 +0100
	Subj: 		RE: SHK 18.0516 Shakespeare Centre Library

[2] 	From: 		Brian Willis <
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	Date: 		Saturday, 11 Aug 2007 04:22:33 -0700 (PDT)
	Subj: 		Re: SHK 18.0516 Shakespeare Centre Library


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Stanley Wells <
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Date: 		Saturday, 11 Aug 2007 11:55:50 +0100
Subject: 18.0516 Shakespeare Centre Library
Comment: 	RE: SHK 18.0516 Shakespeare Centre Library

Jan Pick is of course wrong to imply that the decision to amalgamate the 
Birthplace Trust's reading rooms is a personal decision of the outgoing 
Director. It is a move that has been long under collective consideration 
and one that we hope will offer many advantages to our readers. The 
Trust's collections, assembled over a period of close on 150 years, were 
described by the Library and Information Commission in 2000 as 'the most 
comprehensive collection of materials on Shakespeare in the United 
Kingdom.' They also include a major local history library and archive, 
which serves as a diocesan record office, an extensive collection of 
printed books covering all aspects of Shakespeare scholarship and 
criticism, and many unique documents, some of them relating directly to 
Shakespeare's life. In addition, the Trust, at great expense to itself, 
cares for the archives of the Royal Shakespeare Company, an invaluable 
resource for, especially, theatre historians. At present access to the 
collections is by means of two separate reading rooms. We have come 
increasingly to believe that a closer working relationship between the 
two specialist teams who care for our resources is desirable. It would 
enable us to present our collections as a whole, and would provide staff 
with the opportunity of working with a wider variety of both archive and 
library material. This is why we plan shortly to combine our library and 
archive services within a single reading room. There is a long-term hope 
that we may even create a new building in which all our collections will 
be brought under one roof, but this is dependent on financial 
considerations. The Trust is a private charity with no government 
support, dependent for its income entirely on its own efforts. Falling 
visitor numbers in recent years have strained these resources almost to 
breaking point. The Trust makes no charge for the use of its library and 
archival resources, which are expensive to maintain, and to staff. It is 
our duty to attempt to maintain them economically and in a manner that 
will best serve the needs of a broad spectrum of users. The Trustees and 
its officers believe that the Record Office facilities, so far from 
being 'incredibly cramped', can be adapted in a way that will make them 
entirely adequate to serve the current level of readership. The present 
Library reading room, which is indeed an attractive space, will continue 
in use as a meeting room, for teaching purposes, and as an overflow 
facility should this ever be needed.

Stanley Wells
Chairman, The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Brian Willis <
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Date: 		Saturday, 11 Aug 2007 04:22:33 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 18.0516 Shakespeare Centre Library
Comment: 	Re: SHK 18.0516 Shakespeare Centre Library

I too do not know the rationale for the decision, and I am fully leaving 
the benefit of the doubt in the equation, but from a researcher's point 
of view, it makes no sense. Every time I've entered the study room, it 
is being used but never to capacity. It has a pleasant atmosphere for 
study as well. The records office does not. I hope I can understand why 
this decision needed to be made and what will become of the study room.

Puzzled,
Brian Willis

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