Noticed anything new about the Microfilm Research Room lately? This spring, we took care of some housekeeping, checked (and re-checked) our open access holdings, and gave the room a total overhaul! So head on up to the fourth floor of our College Park facility (A2) and check it out!
Following up on multiple researcher comments and requests, we’ve moved around the Microfilm readers to allow researchers to have more desk space while using them, and shifted the finding aid shelves to make them more convenient to use (again – more desk space!). We’ve also got new, adjustable chairs to go along with the new, higher desks .
The Finding Aid shelves, now on the opposite wall
We’ve also fully re-numbered and re-labeled the Microfilm cabinets. This ties in with the newly updated Microfilm locator. The physical locations of microfilm series within the room have, for the most part, not changed, but to be on the safe side you should still double-check the locator. We ask that researchers refrain from refiling their own microfilm reels, but instead place them on the black cart provided. Staff will refile microfilm reels to ensure they are returned to their correct locations.
One of two carts for returning microfilm reels
Another new change to Microfilm has to do with the fact that we are entering the summer busy season here at NARA. The increase in researchers is particularly noticeable in the Microfilm Research Room, as we only have 14 Microfilm readers (2 for scanning to USB, 5 for printing, and an additional 7 for viewing/taking notes/photographs).
In an effort to ensure that all researchers may have access to the types of readers they need to use, we ask that upon entering the Microfilm Research Room, researchers sign up for a reader time slot based on their particular microfilm reader needs (i.e. if you plan to only use a digital camera, please sign up for a viewer-only machine, not a scanning or printing machine).
The Sign-Up Sheets for Printing and Viewing Microfilm Readers
These time slots are for 45 minutes, and you may only sign up for one slot at a time. As it gets close to the end of a time slot, you may check to see if the next slot is empty and if it is, sign up for the next slot. However, if someone has signed up after you, you will need to move to another reader (if available) or wait until the next open slot. You may not sign up for multiple slots at one time.
This is the same policy we have with our two USB-scanning microfilm readers year-round.
The Sign -Up Sheets for the Scanning Microfilm Readers
Again, this is to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to view their documents and reproduce them as necessary, particularly for those researchers who may only be visiting us for a short while.
Coming soon: A #ResearcherProTip post on microfilm tips and how-to’s, so you can maximize your effectiveness when using a technology that dates back to the nineteenth century ;-)