Northamptonshire County Council: Don't charge for visiting archives
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Northamptonshire Archives and Heritage Services have announced that, from 21 August, they will charge £31.50 per hour to visit the Archives Service on Tuesday-Thursday afternoons, 2-4pm, and on Mondays and Fridays all day. (Free access is available only on Tuesday-Thursday mornings, 9am-1pm, and on 7 Saturdays in the year).
- severely limits access to archives of international importance;
- stops academics, students, and family and local historians from conducting proper, extended research;
- prevents local residents from connecting with their heritage, and charges them twice for a service they already pay for through council tax;
- restricts visitors from further afield, who want to make the most of their time;
- creates a two-tier system, with charges prohibitive for most users.
This decision goes against the spirit of open access in research, and sets a dangerous precedent for repositories of public documents.
The County Council's plan for 2014-19 pledged to 'continue to celebrate Northamptonshire's rich cultural heritage'. Please hold them to that pledge by asking them to reverse this terrible decision.
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