After more than a year of closure, Brock University’s Archives and Special Collections has reopened to the Brock community.
The James A. Gibson Library’s Archives and Special Collections department, which is housed on the 10th floor of the Schmon Tower, reopened Tuesday, March 23 to Brock faculty, students and staff by appointment only. Four 160-minute time slots are available to book Tuesdays and Thursdays between 9 a.m. and 3:50 p.m., allowing for a maximum of two researchers in the Reading Room each morning and afternoon.
Two archival staff members will be working on site to assist researchers with their searches. Visitors and staff are required to follow COVID-19 protocols, such as completing a self-assessment survey, applying hand sanitizer, maintaining physical distance from others, and wearing a face mask, even while seated.
David Sharron, Head of Archives and Special Collections, is happy to welcome back the Brock community. He said although archival staff were able to assist researchers this past year by searching through digitized collections, a lot of documents remain in hard copy and can only be accessed by sifting through physical boxes.
“When digitizing an archival collection, we often scan highlights with the intention of inspiring researchers to come into the archives to see what else is in the collection,” he said.
“Working an archive is like digging for gold. True archival researchers need to dig deep into the boxes to find those nuggets of history that have been hiding for decades and centuries.”
Examples of people interested in archival material and special collections include a Geography professor doing a data mapping project with a historic event; a Fine Arts student investigating local history before starting a project; and an English professor searching through the rare book collection for a 16th-century Bible that Shakespeare would have referred to in one of his plays.
To book an appointment with Archives and Special Collections for an upcoming Tuesday or Thursday, email firstname.lastname@example.org with a list of resources to consult, including call numbers, titles and dates. Additional procedures are available online.