The Archives Manager presented a report, the purpose of which was to update Members on the performance of Teesside Archives for the period April 2012 - June 2012.
The range of work undertaken by Teesside Archives was varied and included conservation and outreach work. The submitted report provided a summary of this work.
The number of visitors to Teesside Archives during this period was 925, compared to 1,833 for the same period last year. A breakdown was shown in Appendix 1 of the report.
It was indicated that the drop in visitor numbers reflected the move of the microfilmed family history material to Middlesbrough Reference Library. It was explained that, because the Central Library was open six days per week, the purpose of the move was to facilitate accession to the microfilmed material. In response to a query, it was indicated that in the time since the material had been moved, visitor numbers to the Library had slightly increased.
It was commented that a high standard of service was being offered to those accessing the microfilmed material at the Library, however the space that had been made available could have been improved. It was explained that this could perhaps be looked at in the future, however unless sufficient finances could be achieved, further expansion to the Library building in order to better accommodate the microfilmed material would be difficult.
The number of documents issued during this period was 1,937, which remained constant despite the cut to the Archives opening hours. The new system appeared to be working reasonably well, although a few minor complaints had been received.
Details regarding deposits/acquisitions, outreach work, volunteer activity and conservation work that had been carried out were provided in the submitted report.
Further reference was made to the decline in visitor figures in relation to online accessibility to archived material. It was explained that, nationally, Archives Services were reducing their opening hours. It was felt that there was an expectation for material to be made available online; Teesside Archives had been working with 'Find My Past in order to provide digitised records.
In response to a query, it was indicated that an annual visitor survey was undertaken; it was suggested that this be forwarded to the Committee in the future.
A discussion ensued with regards to visitor figures and how these could be improved. Suggested ways included: undertaking work in other areas of interest and raising awareness of this - the examples of cataloguing Stockton Title Deeds and Thornaby Planning Applications were given; carry-out further outreach work with community and other groups; loan items from the partnering authorities and display these accordingly; undertake theme-specific events; and increase partnership working and the use of other channels such as social networking and Borough-specific publications.
Reference was made to the review of the Archives Service and the vacant Archivist post. It was felt that these had taken time away from focusing upon the progression of the Service, however, now that the review had been completed and the Archivist post was being advertised externally, focus could now be resumed.
That members note the performance report for April 2012 - June 2012.
The decision was supported by the following reason:
For members to acknowledge quarter 1 service performance.