100 signatures reached
To: Enfield Council
Hands Off Enfield Local Studies Centre and Archives - No Cuts!
Please drop your plans to "digitalise" Enfield Local Studies Centre and Archives and do not make it appointment only service or reduce resources. Experienced researchers will always want to view original documentation and novices need the help of the knowledgeable staff to find what they seek. Digitalising will be very expensive, if not impossible and Ancestry.co.uk will not be free online outside the library. Many of the archive items will be covered by copyright - so not possible to digitalise them without permission. All this, and limiting access to defined appointment only will severely diminish the value of this archive.
Why is this important?
The extensive resources and experienced staff within Enfield Local Studies Centre and Archives are the heritage jewel in the crown for the Borough of Enfield. The Council is keen to use them to publicise themselves yet with no forethought of true costs plans to render these services virtually unusable. Other archives have tried digitalisation at great expense. This is discrimination against older people and others who do not have access to and cannot afford the internet. Ancestry.co.uk will not provide free access, apart from their free library edition when accessed in a library, certainly NOT at home which would have to be subscription based. This centre also obtains grants to interview local people about their pasts - specifically WW1 and WW2. These intergenerational projects involve the whole community and provides a historical resource for future generations. I have undertaken some of the interviewing so I have witnessed the value of information given and the pleasure local residents have experienced in telling their stories. Please also take part in the council consultation which closes on 18 October 2015. Forms available in local libraries or online at http://www.enfield.gov.uk/info/867/current_consultations/3896/enfield_local_studies_centre_and_museum