This dissertation investigates access to special and local studies collections in
UK public libraries. The aim was to provide an overview of the state of, and
current practices connected with, user access to such collections, since much
current literature in the area is case study orientated. The issues covered
relate to current user access, including the existence and availability of
catalogues, and the use of original and surrogate materials in both physical
and virtual forms.
A review of appropriate literature was carried out to gain background
knowledge of the area and to aid in the formulation of data collection
questions. A web based questionnaire was used in order to attain the size and
distribution of sample needed to provide the overview sought. Relevant
electronic mailing lists were used for questionnaire distribution.
Data analysis showed a high proportion of collections which are partially or
completely uncatalogued. The importance of maintaining a balance between
user access, preservation and financial concerns also came through strongly.
The difficulty of gaining funding for surrogacy creation (mainly digitisation) was
also a main theme in both the study results and related literature. Parallels
were drawn between themes evident from this study and those identified in
related studies of surrogacy creation funding in archives and local studies
libraries (Ward 2004), and digitisation in the UK higher education sector
(Bültmann et al. 2005).
A Master's Dissertation, submitted in partial
fulfilment of the requirements for the award of
Master of Arts degree of Loughborough