After 16 months of COVID-19 and construction-related closures, the Western History and Genealogy (WHG) collections at Central Library are once again open to researchers for in-person use. Library customers can now access the materials in a new, dedicated reading room known as WHG1, located in the rear of the computer lab area off of Schlessman Hall. If you're planning a research trip to WHG, here are few things you'll want to know before heading downtown.
WHG1 is open the same hours as the rest of the library: Sunday, 1-5 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 1 - 6 p.m. We understand that these limited hours are a burden to our researchers, but they are a reflection of the realities of our current construction and staffing situations. Library customers who already know what materials they'd like to look at can call in their requests ahead of time by phoning 720-865-1821 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Because of the construction in our building, retrieving materials takes a bit longer than it has in times past, so phoning in requests ahead of time is a great way to maximize that already limited research time. For those who need assistance finding materials, two librarians are available in-person during our open hours.
Though almost all of the materials in the collections are available for use, there are a few limitations that researchers should be aware of. For example, we are now providing access to our audio cassettes, DVDs and VHS tapes from the collections. We are currently unable to provide access to other audio-visual materials that are too large or fragile for use in our temporary reading room, until further notice. Researchers should also be aware that the shelves on the fifth floor are unavailable for browsing. Researchers with questions about what materials are or are not available can give us a call at 720-865-1821 or email email@example.com for more information.
Our customers who have gone entirely too long without access to our microfilm collections will be happy to know that WHG1 features two microfilm readers for public use. Along those same lines, our entire collection of microfilm, including complete runs of both the Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News are available for use in WHG1, as is our book scanner.
There's no getting around the fact that WHG1 is a smaller space than our researchers and staff were working with in the past. To that end, we are asking that customers only request four boxes of manuscript materials at a time. To be clear though, there are no limitations on how many items library customers can use through the course of a day.
The same is true for time limits on the tables at WHG1. While there are no formal time limits, we do ask that patrons be mindful of others when the room is busy and take steps such as reviewing notes outside of WHG1 to help clear space for others if there's a wait for the tablespace.
Because our collections contain so many high-value items, there are a few security procedures that DPL customers should be aware of while accessing Western History and Genealogy materials. We are asking customers to put their purses, backpacks, and other materials on a secure shelf while they're working in WHG1 and that researchers use the pencils and paper we provide in lieu of their own notebooks or other items. Use of laptops and electronic tablets is permitted. We know that represents an inconvenience to our customers, but these are essential steps for protecting the integrity of the materials that so many Denver residents rely on for their personal, academic, and genealogical research.
In order to protect our materials from damage, insects, and vermin, food and drinks are not permitted in WHG1.
Let's face it, this situation isn't ideal and we're all looking forward to the day when the shelves on the fifth floor are once again open to the public. We've genuinely appreciated the steady flow of researchers we've seen at WHG1 and the patience they've shown as we navigate the challenges of working out of our new space. The past 16 months have been challenging for everyone, but we're excited to be taking these steps to help re-open the special collections at Denver Public Library to the researchers who make them great.
If you have any questions about our new space or our new procedures, please contact us by phone at 720-865-1821 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.