Thanks to those of you who completed the recent IHR library survey. It has been nice to see from the comments how much the library is valued. People indicated high levels of satisfaction for the collections, open-access study space and the helpfulness of library staff.

Most respondents said their library use had changed as a result of the pandemic, and many were concerned about travelling even after the restrictions eased. It’s good to know that people felt safe once in the library. Others were grateful for our enquiry and scanning services, and for the guide to open-access materials for research. We’ve adjusted services and guidelines as the situation with the pandemic has evolved. We’re pleased that use of the library is now increasing.

One person said they had stopped coming since the refurbishment in 2014 as they no longer knew where things are. Readers are welcome to ask for a tour or for help finding items.

There were some comments about the reduction in vacation opening since 2019. Use hasn’t yet returned to pre-pandemic levels. We will continue to monitor use of the library and will consider opening hours over the next year. You can keep an eye on our website for any upcoming changes to opening times.

There were a couple of suggestions about offsite access to online resources. Some resources are available offsite to IHR members but in many cases licences restrict access to an Institution’s own staff and students. We recognise that this makes access difficult for private researchers. Access is available to members within the IHR building and we will continue to explore the licence situation.

A selection of the comments:

  • “The IHR has been not only a constant provider of very useful stuff, but also a source of inspiration. Open stacks provide a wonderful opportunity of discovering books you had never heard of or that you had forgotten.”
  • “IHR continues to be vital to my own work and the development of postgraduate students in my university. A browsable reference collection of physical books is an enormously useful resource and has suggested several important avenues for research as the result of chance discoveries that might not have occurred from ordering books at the British Library or consulting digital resources.”
  • “The way the staff have maintained useful services throughout the pandemic has been awe inspiring.”
  • “The resources I need are on open access and are unmatched by any other library in the country.”
  • “The IHR Library is one of my favourite places to work – excellent collections, friendly and helpful staff, and a good all-round working environment. Thank you!

We’d love to hear from you if you have any further comments or suggestions, or would like any help using the library.  Please visit Library Enquiries on floor 1 or email us.