Friday, July 16, 2010

Greenwich Maritime Museum Library--July 12, 2010

The National Maritime Museum Library in Greenwich is one of the largest maritime reference libraries in the world. It is currently housed in the Caird Library at the National Maritime Museum, but will be moving to a new facility next year.

The collection consists of an electronic collection and 2D objects such as manuscripts, charts, journals, rare books, and ephemera. Some of the subjects covered by the collection include navigation, piracy, astronomy, voyages, exploration, naval architecture, the merchant navy, the royal navy, and genealogical sources. In short, if it has something to do with British seafaring, it is probably within the scope of the library’s collection.

The library is open to the public, but is only open for limited hours (3 days a week) right now. Hours should be expanded after the move to the new facility. When the library is open at full capacity, it receives 3-4 thousand visitors a year. Many of the users are researching genealogy or family history.

Users must request materials since a large portion of the collection is stored offsite. This can be accomplished by filling out a form (shown above) or emailing the library staff. An electronic request system is planned for the new facility. The new facility will also have larger onsite storage so users will have a shorter wait for some materials. Currently, users view items in the reading room within sight of the desk.

The library staff is available to assist users in person and by phone and email. A pamphlet about useful resources for genealogical resources is also available.

The new facility is designed to be much more open than the current space and the library plans to seek out a wider, more diverse user group.

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