Update on plans for new reading room, Sammy Ofer Wing, National Maritime Museum

Below is some information on the progress of the new building and the new research and reading room in the Sammy Ofer Wing at the NMM – we hope you find it helpful.

Building work and plans for the new research and reading room

View of the new research and reading room in the Sammy Ofer Wing, January 2011
 View of the new research and reading room in the Sammy Ofer Wing, January 2011. Repro ID: L4485-026 © National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London

The building project is progressing well. The exceptionally cold weather that everyone experienced in December made an impact on the programme, but the new building is scheduled to open in the summer of 2011. The racking will be installed in the archive stores and the reading room fitted out in the spring. The removal contractors, Nexus, have begun to develop a schedule for the move of the collections into the reading room and stores, once the drying out period, snagging and environmental monitoring have all been completed.

Preparation work towards the new service

Interior perspective sketch of Research and Reading Room, Sammy Ofer Wing
Interior perspective sketch of Research and Reading Room, Sammy Ofer Wing, National Maritime Museum, by Softroom Architects

The work to prepare the collections prior to their move into the new stores is on target. The archive team completed the location record and unit of production project for the manuscripts collection (editing archive catalogue records and rehousing manuscripts where appropriate), which will improve access to the collections. The archive team is now working on labelling boxes and volumes, and flagging items by size, so that in the new stores the collections are stored as efficiently as possible.

Crates of books at the Royal Observatory, December 2010

Crates of books at the Royal Observatory waiting to be transported and integrated into the book sequence in the Caird Library, prior to being moved into the new research and reading room, Sammy Ofer Wing, December 2010 ©Gareth Bellis

 The library team is focussing on ‘mini-moves’ – moving more frequently requested modern books from the Royal Observatory and an outstore site to the Caird Library so that collections are in sequence and onsite prior to their move into the new building. This work is being done now so that the move into the new reading room and stores in the Sammy Ofer Wing from April–July 2011 can be done as quickly and efficiently as possible.

We are developing an online ordering system, Aeon, for the new reading room to allow readers to order items in advance and keep a record of what material they have requested, and what they are waiting to see. We intend to introduce the new online request system gradually – please see updates on the Library pages.

Next steps

We will update our plans for the move as they develop and circulate them and put them on the website, but generally physical access to the archive and library collections (as well as our availability to answer enquiries and manage the reprographic service) will be severely disrupted from April–July 2011, when the Caird Library will be closed to all visitors. We will circulate specific dates for the Library’s closure period as soon as we can, and advise all users of the Caird Library to check the website regularly for future updates.

For further information about the plans for the new reading room and library provision, including what the reading room will be like and how many books will be available on open access, see Sammy Ofer Wing Library FAQs.

For general information about the new wing, including photos of the construction site, see the Sammy Ofer Wing pages.

Eleanor Gawne, Head of Archive and Library, National Maritime Museum

January 2011

25 Jan 2011