In preparation for tomorrow’s work at the New York Public Library, I ask you comment on the rules of using the National Archives in Washington, D.C. that are posted on the February syllabus page (you can also access them here.) Which ones seem right to you? Which seem obscure? Do any seem stupid or pointless? How would you prepare to visit an archive? Feel free to comment on other people’s posts as well.
Since I got this post up late, I am going to start with Phoenix Smithey’s remarks, left in the comments section of another post. In your remarks, you might want to riff off of Phoenix’s observations — or take another tack entirely.
I feel most of the rules are pretty standard and expected. I firmly believe in the no food or drink rule. I could just imagine something terrible happening with a spill. I understand and agree with the rule against large bags and possibly sneaky clothes. On the other hand I don’t like the fact that an officer can search your person anytime as they see fit. The basic rules on the care and what you can and cannot take in with you seem pretty fair to me. I have no problem with being asked to pack up five minutes early. Like I said before these rules seem pretty standard.
I found the rules about pornography and personal hygiene to be pretty amusing. I suppose something at some point created a need for them but I would never have thought to put them on the list. It also surprised me how much documentation is needed to get a reading ticket. I suppose it’s just like getting a library card though. I also found the whole appeal process to get your reading ticket back to be a little silly.
To prepare to go to an archive I would throughly check myself. I never realized until reading these rules just how damaging people can be. These are very important documents and are completely irreplaceable. I mean they won’t even let anyone under sixteen in without an adult. I also need to be really careful about copyright laws. That section was eye opening and reminded me to be extra careful. I realize most of the documents are under Crown copyright but I would still be on my toes. Mostly I would just prepare myself to be trusted with someone’s life and things that have been very important in the recent history of New York.