Saturday, November 19, 2011
PRESS RELEASE FROM IRISH GENEALOGICAL RESEARCH SOCIETY.
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The Irish Genealogical Research Society (IGRS)
18 November 2011
Archive and library reform moves worry genealogists
The Irish Genealogical Research Society (IGRS) is concerned that a
so-called merger of the National Archives "into" the National Library
could diminish these vital heritage services.
Steven Smyrl, IGRS chairman, says that while the IGRS recognises the
need for savings across the board in Irish public services, it is
concerned that with two bodies under one director, competition for
resources could be fierce.
"The proposed area of control is simply too vast, whether or not, as the
Government proposes, both institutions are to retain their separate
identities. The Government's plan is further complicated by reference to
the possible sharing of services between the National Library and the
National Museum which could dilute the services still further."
Smyrl acknowledges that there are savings to be made through the pooling
of public services resources. "Conservation and administration are just
two such areas that immediately spring to mind, but while libraries and
museums might appear to be similar they are actually very different
"Staff trained in the care and control of archive materials require
quite different skills to those working in a library and economies of
scale will not be found by requiring flexibility from staff to work
across borders in the proposed new set-up. It is crucial that specialist
knowledge and training be recognised as essential in service delivery at
national institutions. The historians, academics, researchers and
genealogists using them rely heavily upon the staff's expertise and
"The IGRS welcomes the Government's initiative to see where savings can
be made but advises caution if irreparable damage to public service is
to be avoided. "