We are glad to be able to welcome you back to use the Archives and Local Studies collections and resources.

Because of Covid-19 we’ve made some changes to the way we operate, including rigorous cleaning of public spaces and quarantine systems for documents.

There are other changes too, including hand-sanitiser stations, screens, signage and floor guides, which are intended to ensure a safe environment for visitors and staff.

The guidance below will help you prepare for your visit.

Essential information

– An appointment must be made before visiting
-Documents must be pre-ordered
-Contact information must be provided at the point of booking
-Face coverings (masks) must be worn at all times in the building (unless a medical exemption applies)

Please do not book if you have any symptoms of Coronavirus (Covid-19), if you are awaiting a test result, if you have tested positive for Covid-19, or if you have been contacted by NHS: Test and Trace.

Opening times

The Somerset Heritage Centre and Devon Heritage Centre are open for research visits.

o The opening days are Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
o There are two bookable sessions each day. These are from 10.00 am to 1.00 pm and 2.00 pm to 4.30 pm. There is a limit of 6 people per session at each centre.

The North Devon Record Office is open for research visits.

o The opening days are Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
o There are two bookable sessions each day. These are from 10.00 am to 1.00 pm and 2.00 pm to 4.30 pm. There is a limit of 4 people per session.

Booking an appointment

Appointments are essential as numbers will be restricted

• Appointments are released a fortnight in advance. 
• Appointments can be booked via Eventbrite.
• Appointments will normally be limited to one morning or one afternoon session per week in the first instance. Please respect this to enable as many people as possible to have the chance to book a session.
• If your research need is not urgent please consider whether you need to book immediately on reopening.

You will need to provide the following information when making a booking:

• Your full name, email address and phone number.
• Your reader’s ticket number if you already have one.
• Document references for pre-ordering (see below for further information).
• If you will mainly require either a microfiche reader, microfilm reader or public access computer then you can make a specific booking for these resources.

Ordering documents

• All documents must be pre-ordered. We will not be able to get any documents out for you during your visit.
• Please use our online catalogues to find the references for the items you wish to use
• Documents can be pre-ordered at the time of booking and must be ordered at least 48 hours before your visit.
• You can pre-order up to 6 documents per visit. If you have particular requirements relating to your document requests please phone us to discuss these. Please note that telephone lines will only be answered during temporary opening hours.

o Somerset Heritage Centre – 01823 337600
o Devon Heritage Centre – 01392 888700
o North Devon Record Office – 01271 318792 or 01271 342174

What to do when you arrive

• Sanitise your hands using the stations provided.
• At reception please give your name so that we can confirm your attendance.
• Place bags, etc., in allocated lockers.

Important information for visitors to the North Devon Record Office:

• Barnstaple Library is operating a queuing system outside the building for users of the library service. To avoid needing to queue please explain that you have a booking to use the record office to the member of staff on duty at the door and they will direct you to the Record Office.

Important information for visitors to Devon Heritage Centre:

Access to Great Moor House is currently restricted to staff and our visitors.  When you arrive please ring the doorbell on the inner door and someone will let you in.

In the searchroom

• You will be allocated a table or microfilm/fiche reader as booked and asked to read our Covid-19 Visitor Charter.
• All the documents that you ordered will be available for you to work through.
• All documents, library books, and other resources will need to be returned to appropriate trolleys or boxes provided so that they can be quarantined.
• Please be aware of other researchers and of staff and maintain social distancing at all times.
• Hand sanitiser stations will be available for you to use during your visit.

Reopening FAQs

Safety measures

Booking and facilities