Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Years in the archives

When the Library surveys readers to assess their level of satisfaction with our service, a common comment is to highlight the helpfulness of the staff (a comment for which we are extremely grateful). We’d like to think that this begins with recruiting the right people; but it’s also a result of a stable staff, long-serving Library employees building their experience and skills as time passes, and sharing this knowledge with readers and colleagues. On that note, today we’d like to mark twenty years’ service to the Library by Dr Richard Aspin, the Head of Research and Scholarship.

Richard joined us from Lambeth Palace Library in 1991, arriving in a library very different from today’s. His role initially was as Curator of Western Manuscripts, head of a department of just two people looking after pre-1900 archival material: twentieth-century material was looked after by the then Contemporary Medical Archives Centre. Since that time we have seen the merger of those two bodies into today’s Archives and Manuscripts department; the introduction of a database to make archive catalogues visible and searchable online; the refitting of 183 Euston Road not once but twice; and now, the impending transformation of our reader experience by mass digitisation and the collection of born-digital archives. Throughout these changes, one constant has been Richard’s combination of level-headedness, diplomacy and scholarship worn lightly. We, and our readers, have been the beneficiaries.

Author: Chris Hilton

 
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