10 February 2016
My work often involves visiting library and archival institutions in order to view and examine manuscript and/or printed music collections relevant to my research. It can sometimes be difficult to gain access to material, especially if it is very old or rare. Understandably, libraries and archival institutions need to have rules and regulations in place for readers; these include terms for admission, rules of conduct while using their facilities and procedures for examining material. It is necessary to be aware of reading room hours and to find out if you can or need to order items in advance of your visit. All this will help you to plan and use your time more efficiently while there.
During the past few months I have been carrying out research for our project in Special Collections & Archives at the McClay Library, Queen’s University Belfast. The Special Collections Unit is located on the first floor of the library and provides an ideal environment for researchers. The bright and spacious reading room has a seating capacity of 40. The Gibson-Massie-Moore collection is a very large archival resource so I always order items in advance of my visit; this practice not only assists library staff, giving them time to locate items, but also benefits me as I know the items I’ve ordered will be there when I arrive so I can start my work without delay. The information desk is located directly beside the reading room and the excellent library staff are very helpful and approachable. On arriving at the desk I present my staff card and then I am issued with a locker key which also includes a tag which you swipe to gain access to the reading room. Readers can store their personal belongings in the lockers which are located to the right of the information desk. Readers also have the option to book the seminar room which is very useful if a team of researchers wishes to meet to examine and discuss items of relevance to their research.
Since our project is based at Queen’s we are very lucky that the majority of sources relevant to our research are located on campus. The ERIN research team would like to take this opportunity to thank Deirdre Wildy, Head of Special Collections, and all the staff at Special Collections for the constant assistance, support and co-operation shown to us throughout the course of our research project. For more information about Special Collections & Archives please visit the link below.
Images Courtesy of Queen’s University Image Bank; Special Collections, The McClay Library, Queen’s University Belfast and Thomas Moore in Europe Blog