Closed Week in the Reading Room

From 16th to 20th December the Reading Room was closed to Readers so that we could undertake some work behind-the-scenes and make some changes.

The Reading Room Team at work shifting periodicals

The Reading Room Team at work shifting periodicals

We had a long list of tasks to complete and a week to complete them so we got straight to work! Our first task was to bring up the Shakespeare Survey periodical to be available on the open access shelves. In order to do this we needed to rearrange the shelves to make space, but this worked well as it meant that we could move early volumes of the Shakespearean Criticism to lower shelves (these are used frequently by myself and Maddie, neither of us the tallest of folk, and it will be nice not having to use a step to get to them in future!). Shakespeare Survey is a popular periodical which is often requested by our readers so it is now more available for browsing. Both provide useful essays and articles about Shakespeare’s works and performance history of the plays.

It is always the case that when you start shifting books around you find more and more that needs to be done and the solutions to some problems can open up further puzzles to solve! We noticed that we had many dictionaries and useful reference books amongst other sections and took the bold step of re-ordering some of the books to make them more obvious to readers who may be looking for those types of books. As a result we created a dictionary and reference section. We agonised for a long time over what we should call the section but in the end probably did not come to the most exciting conclusion! We also put Law reference books and Religion reference books into their own sections to clarify things further.

Next we noticed we had a few books on medicine and agriculture which seemed a bit lost amongst books on other topics. We returned these to the strong room to keep the whole classmark for each topic in just one place, thus making them easier to locate. However, on returning the books to the strong room this meant that several shelves of books needed to be shifted again to make space for them. Pre- twentieth century books were removed from the Reading Room for conservation reasons and other useful books such as titles on paelaeography and local history were also added to the Reading Room shelves.

Content for new leaflets

Content for new leaflets

We also got to work on a range of new leaflets to assist readers in using our collections. We already have a range of useful guides covering different parts of the local collections and we have decided to add to these with similar guides to using our theatre materials and books. These are a work in progress at the moment, with much of the content completed and the formatting still to do they should be decorating the Reading Room soon. Further work was completed on the Reader Welcome Pack and Customer Charter.

New books for our collection

Hannah and Mareike tidy up in the strong rooms

As well as the Reading Room tasks we were busy tidying up the strong rooms and even received an exciting delivery of new books which will be gracing our shelves in the coming weeks. The Reading Room re-opened yesterday so come and see the changes we have made!


A freely available online exhibition exploring keys aspects of the music in Shakespeare’s plays, as well as music inspired by Shakespeare.