I've been to Northallerton to find out more about the consultation currently in progress about the future shape of North Yorkshire's archives service.
I am reassured that there's no suggestion of services in Northallerton being curtailed. The problem with collections like these is that most of their contents are unique, and need specialist care, so have to be kept together a central location. Northallerton is more accessibile than anywhere else in the county, but North Yorkshire is large, and east-west travel particularly difficult. Unlike many other record offices, North Yorkshire has commendably maintained a full service through the week. Even so, many North Yorkshire residents are not realistically ever going to manage to get there.
So how to spread the message about what's kept at North Yorkshire RO, beyond the volunteer work and events at Northallerton? The obvious route to reach more people is online, which may mean setting up some virtual activity in libraries in other outposts. NYRO is looking for your ideas.
You're very much encouraged to complete the survey. Archives can be quite a specialist area, but to anyone interested in researching the past, they are vital. It helps to have a good website and more detailed cataloguing - sounds unglamorous, but a thorough online list can save you a long journey, or at least enable a researcher to see that a day out to Northallerton is worth the trip. But please think about what you'd like of an archive - help in uncovering the history of a house or village? Advice available in your locality? Online access to scans of a particular set of documents? Your views are really important. Responding to the survey shows that people are interested. This isn't just restricted to residents of North Yorkshire - anyone is welcome to fill out the survey. This is all our history. Here's the link again.