The future of an archive that gives a unique insight into 800 years of North Yorkshire’s history is the subject of a public consultation launched yesterday (Monday, 16 April).
Currently, the archive is housed in the County Record Office in Northallerton, but the building is in need of a complete overhaul if it is to continue to maintain these important and irreplaceable documents in a secure, controlled environment.
This gives North Yorkshire County Council’s Archives Service an opportunity to look at how it might deliver the service in the future. Therefore, before any decision is taken, the service wants to hear from as many people as possible, whether or not they currently use the archives.
It will invite views from local heritage groups, but also wants to hear from as wide a cross-section of the public as possible. Whether or not you currently use the archives and even if you’re unfamiliar with the work of the archives, the service would still like to hear from you.
The service is also keen to take advantage of opportunities offered by improved broadband coverage across the county to allow online access to its unique collections. It wants to know what current users and non-users would like to see from a digital-age record office. It also wants to learn from the many dedicated, enthusiastic heritage groups and volunteers how it can better support them in preserving the heritage of local communities.
County Councillor Greg White, Executive Member for the Archives Service, said: “I want to ensure that the County Council is providing the best possible place to preserve our unique and historic collection for use by generations to come.
“While the archive houses many rare or irreplaceable documents, it is not solely about these. It is a living thing, collecting and archiving today’s records, whatever the format or medium in which they are created, so that future generations will have the same opportunities we have to study their past.
“That’s why we need as many people as possible to participate in this consultation and to let us know what they would like to see from the record office in the future. We’d particularly like to know what types of activity people would be interested in becoming involved in.”
The survey asks a range of questions, including why people do or don’t visit the archive, what would make them visit, what activities they would be interested in doing or providing at the archive and their views on establishing record office centres in some libraries and other venues.
The survey is open to any individual or group with an interest in the archival heritage of North Yorkshire. To take part online, visit www.northyorks.gov.uk/recordofficesurvey. Anyone unable to complete an online questionnaire can request a paper copy. Contact the County Record Office at Malpas Road, Northallerton, DL7 8TB or call 01609 777585. The closing date for completed questionnaires is Monday, 4 June, 2018.