Reopening the Society's library: Phase one
Thank you all for your support and patience during this strange time. Your donations and subscriptions have inspired us to work even harder during the lockdown to continue bringing you great content online. In fact, it has been so warmly received that we have committed to providing an online programme for members beyond the pandemic. Your dedication to our cause is key to our success, thank you.
We must, however, now consider reopening our collections to researchers and members. Our library has remained closed since March and though Stephanie has been busy answering all your queries by email and checking the collections regularly, we appreciate that you would like to get back to studying. We are therefore provisionally reopening the Society’s library to members from 2nd September 2020. The following message provides further information regarding our phased reopening plan. Our guidance follows instructions issued by the UK government in May 2020 and will be reviewed continually throughout the reopening phases. We must also take account of where best to use staff time in order to continue our charitable mission as well as providing services to members unable to access the London premises. I trust that you will continue to be patient and help us to create a safe working environment for our staff and members until the risk has passed.
Visiting the EES library: Phase one reopening
From 2nd September, the library collection will be open to members strictly by appointment only from Wednesday to Friday between 11:00 and 14:30. Appointments must be booked by emailing a request form to [email protected] at least a week before your suggested visit time. Only two members can visit the library at any one time and must maintain physical distancing (currently 2m) at all times. The collections themselves will not be available for open browsing by members and volumes must be requested, using the request form and online catalogue, ahead of your visit. The requested items will be available to you during your visit and then remain quarantined for a further 72 hours before they can be requested again. Staff will not engage with visitors during their time in the office and will not be able to retrieve further items from the library if not requested in advance. We cannot guarantee that the items you request will be available if they are in quarantine or another researcher has requested them before you.
Health and safety
If you are displaying any symptoms of COVID-19 then you must not visit the EES. If you display any symptoms during your visit, then you will be asked to leave and the office will remain closed to further visitors for two weeks until any risk of transmission has passed.
Commuting to and from the office poses a risk for staff and members. We ask that you remain vigilant at all times and avoid busy periods on public transport. Face masks/coverings should be worn when using public transport and during your visit to the EES, unless exempted.
There will be hand sanitizer available throughout the office and visitors are encouraged to use this regularly. Your allocated workstation will be reserved for the duration of the day on which you book your visit and you will be allocated a colour which will indicate which workstation has been reserved for you. Visitors will not be permitted to photocopy or scan during their visit, so we encourage researchers to bring a mobile phone or camera.
Phase two reopening
If members do not book visits and the library remains underused, then we will review the situation and will consider fully closing again until January 2021 or reducing the number of days we are open for visitors. This ensures that staff remain safe and productive, using their time to the best benefit of the Society, its beneficiaries, its members, and crucially, its support for Egypt’s cultural heritage.
If members follow the guidance provided here, then phase two will see the library collection reopen for browsing and the archive become available for consultation again. This is conditional on further UK government guidance and the perceived demand from members for the use of our collections. It is currently unlikely that we will reopen for the full four days as before the pandemic and instead redirect some of our physical services to online provision.
Stay home, stay safe
While the UK government are relaxing some restrictions at the moment, we remain committed to the safety of our staff and members. As a small team, we have shown extraordinary resilience in the face of this pandemic and migrated almost all our services online without having to make redundancies or furlough key personnel. Any transmission in the office could result in a vast percentage of our staff capacity being reduced which would negatively impact our ability to run our charitable work or provide services to members. Please ensure that you put yours and others safety first during this time.
Thank you again for your patience, and consideration in the above matters. We look forward to welcoming you back to our collections soon.