Suffolk Archives Coronavirus update
31 July 2020
All branches of Suffolk Archives (Bury St Edmunds, Ipswich and Lowestoft) remain closed to the public.
We are working through the risk assessment and planning process with Suffolk County Council colleagues in order to ensure our buildings are Covid-19 secure before they reopen. We will not reopen our buildings to anyone until we are confident that it is safe for all staff and users to do so.
Many of our colleagues will continue to work from home for the foreseeable future. However, a limited number of staff have returned to our Ipswich branch at Gatacre Road this week (week beginning 27 July) and we expect staff to return to our Bury St Edmunds branch during August. Discussions are on-going with Suffolk Libraries to enable staff to return to our Lowestoft branch, which is located within the Lowestoft Library building, as soon as possible.
Returning staff to our branches will enable us to reintroduce some of our services which are harder to operate remotely, such as our telephone and email enquiry services, reprographics service, digitisation service, and paid research requests. Staff access will also enable the packing and preparations for the move to The Hold to begin again.
Public access to our Bury St Edmunds and Lowestoft branches will follow the successful reintroduction of staff and the full testing of all new processes and safety requirements. We expect this should become possible in the autumn. We will be introducing a number of measures for added protection, focused on social distancing and increased cleanliness. It is likely that opening times will be reduced, and users will be asked to book attendance slots and pre-order documents.
As previously planned, the Ipswich branch will remain closed to the public until the move to The Hold has taken place. It is likely that this will now have to be a phased and gradual opening, with the University of Suffolk using the auditorium and seminar rooms for teaching purposes from the end of September, and the first Suffolk Archives exhibition opening in the autumn. We do not expect to formally open the building until 2021.
These plans are being formed in line with current government guidance and as such may be revised should further changes occur.
There is no change to the services users can access online; they can still browse the website and search the catalogue, as well as purchase and download digital images. Further information is available on our Using the Website page.
The new virtual activities introduced over the past three months, including Displays Online, Life in Lockdown, educational resources, and other activities, are still available to explore online and are being continually updated and added to.
We will continue to update this page as and when new information becomes available.