This week for class we visited Temple’s Special Collection Resource Center. This was a very enlightening and enjoyable trip as we are able to see many of the behind the scenes of the archives. The Temple’s Special Collections span many different topics and time periods, with material on the university to an ancient stone tablet and medieval manuscripts. One of the most interesting aspects of the tour as how spread out the archives is through the Paley Library, with offices and records kept on numerous different floors. This makes recording keeping extremely important because otherwise collections could be misplaced and those lost and unusable for research.
The main thing that we discussed after touring the archives was the construction of the new library and how the archives would be arranged in it. The first notable change from looking that the blueprints was that the Special Collections offices would be hosted in one area instead of all over the library, which will make working and organizing the collection easier. In addition, the plans call for a classroom in the archives space, that can be used for instruction and teaching, which is important for outreach and public engagement. The main concern from the plans was the new automatic book retrieval system that will house most of the libraries books as well as some of the archival material. This may be a problem since the archivists will have to trust the robotic system to safely retrieve material when it is needed and to put it back in the correct place. Indeed, the archivists are still trying to determine what collections to store there, such as having the little used collections placed there for storage and the more used ones placed in the regular storage shelves in the archives. This is an important discussion as it attempts to balance new technology with traditional archival practice.
Also on a fun note, one of the coolest things in the archives was a board game called Class Sruggle, which I need to find a copy and play.