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Reading Room Consultation

We've been carrying out consultation on our Reading Room services.

Feedback received over the last few years has focussed on two key areas for improvement in the service we offer to researchers using our collections – longer opening hours and improving the quality of our collections catalogues online. Recently we have undertaken some additional user consultation into preferences for opening hours to sit alongside the regular PSQG survey results of our entire reading room service, discussions at the Collections Study day in 2014 and individual feedback sent directly to us. Taking all of these factors into consideration we have decided at this time to focus our resources on improving our collections online by enhancing the data, creating new, high quality digital images and overhauling the whole online catalogue. Work is already underway on this and will be ready for early 2016.

At the same time the clear results of recent specific user consultation into our opening hours, albeit from a small number of respondents, was that we should aim to open for more hours each week. To achieve this fully would require significant investment over a number of years to increase and then maintain such a service. At this time we are not in a position to be able to do this but have begun to promote more widely the extended access to the reading room for travelling researchers and taken on additional staffing during the days we are open to improve the service we offer.

We will continue to monitor user feedback as we move forward to ensure we respond to the needs of all of our users, whether they are based in Stratford or elsewhere and whether they visit us in person or engage with our collections online.

The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust is a charity that receives no regular public funding and we rely on our tourism business for most of our income. In order to develop and expand our services and undertake projects we rely on the support of generous donors and funders. If you would like to support our work, and specifically the improvements in our collections management and catalogues, please consider joining the Friends of the SBT, supporting one of our many appeals, becoming a volunteer, making a donation or leaving a legacy.

For more information please visit our fundraising Campaigns page.