Over the summer, there have been a number of changes to the department: technological changes, changes to how we handle our materials and our clientele, and changes to security procedures. I want to stress that none of these changes are a result of anything untoward having taken place, but rather it’s just time to work at bringing the department forward. For example, last year, the university implemented a records retention policy. We’ve been altering our filing procedures based on that, considering what files to retain and for how long, in light of how archival best practices differ from the university’s policy.
Many of our security procedures were based on perfectly reasonable decisions in the past, but could stand to be updated. The only major changes scholars and visitors should notice are the sign-in sheet, and how we handle ID cards. Everyone entering the department is now required to sign in and out. The sign in sheets do not ask for any confidential information, rather asking for the visitor’s name, what organization they are affiliated with, and in the most general terms, the purpose of the visit (e.g. research, a class visit, studying, etc.), and when they arrived and left. Since we began to circulate materials to the reading room on the library’s circulation system, researchers have been required to present a valid photo IDs. Now that ID will be held by the reading room monitor until all the materials have been checked back in.
All of the major changes will be in place by the beginning of the fall semester, and several are in place already. If you are visiting, and things are a little different than you are used to, there is a reason.