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Letter to The National Archives Chief Executive from the NACBS Principal Officers

Published: August 23, 2012

Natalie Ceeney
Chief Executive
The National Archives
Ruskin Avenue
Kew, Richmond
Surrey, TW9 4DU

10 September 2009

Dear Ms. Ceeney,

We write as the principal officers of the North American Conference on
British Studies to express our concern regarding the proposed changes to
TNA service prompted by budgetary cuts. While we realise that changes
are necessary given current economic conditions, and that TNA is
answerable to the British government and must implement costs-savings,
we join a considerable number of other interested groups and individuals
in questioning whether the cuts proposed are the wisest measures TNA
could take to reduce its expenditures.

We represent a large group of scholars, based mainly albeit not
exclusively in Canada and the United States, many of whom use the
archives on a regular basis and for whom it is a vital resource for
their scholarship and career advancement. We include in our numbers not
only those who hold academic positions but also independent scholars and
students working towards higher degrees. For all of these
constituencies, reduced access to TNA will, without question, be a
significant blow. Ours is a membership that, for the most part, can
visit London only for limited periods, and the reduction of hours that a
full day closing each week represents will hit them severely.

Likewise, the vagueness in TNA’s proposed staffing reductions is
worrying. Many of our younger members in particular benefit considerably
from the expertise of your specialist research staff. Reduction in their
numbers or availability will have a direct and powerful impact on
scholars unfamiliar with your holdings, and even on those already
experienced in using your collections.

All of us count TNA amongst the most valuable of the resources we use to
further our studies and researches in a variety of British studies
disciplines, and we are wholly supportive of the organisation. We write,
as so many others both in and beyond British shores have done, to urge a
wholesale reconsideration of the proposed cuts.

Yours sincerely,

Barbara Harris, President, North American Conference on British Studies;
Professor Emerita, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Philippa Levine, Vice-President and President-Elect, Professor,
University of Southern California

William Lubenow, Immediate Past President, Professor, Richard Stockton
College of New Jersey

Andrew August, Executive Secretary, Professor, Pennsylvania State University

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