We are making good progress with planning and getting ready for the opening of our brand new InfoZone and Research Library. We thought it timely to give you all an update on how things are going.
The new Research Library will open to the public in summer 2011 and is located on the first floor, adjacent to the Communicate! gallery. It’s a much more visible and accessible location than we had for our Library previously. We will have a selection of about 23,000 items drawn from our much larger collection, which will be focused on our research and collection strengths. The new Library will also provide much improved visitor seating and study space including a more informal comfy seating area which we anticipate being used for more leisurely browsing such as keeping up-to-date with the latest issues from our periodical collections or looking over our recently received new books.
We are also delighted to say that we will have some new contemporary shelving. This will benefit not only us but importantly our users who will no longer have to ask a staff member to retrieve an item from the top shelf (previously nine shelves high). Our new shelving is lower, enabling our users to browse freely for themselves.
When we reopen we will also be introducing a brand new information service called the Info Zone. The InfoZone is a place where visitors can access a range of information about our Museums, our galleries, our collections, our exhibitions and what’s going on. We will have a number of PCs which visitors will be able to use to check out our digital and web-based information, as well as printed resources. The Information Services team will be on hand to advise and support visitors to find and use the information resources on offer. The Zone will have information about our whole complex and not just the new galleries from this phase of the development.
What we offer will of course evolve and develop over time informed by our visitors’ experiences and information requests. We will also be working with Learning & Programmes, Exhibitions and other departments to take forward public programming opportunities and external promotional events to specialist research and interest groups about our amazing collections and encouraging them to visit us to discover these for themselves.