As postgraduates in history we are deeply concerned by the recent, albeit temporary closure of the Scottish Catholic Archives at Columba House ("Anger over decision to close church archives", The Herald, June 29 and Letters, July 10).
We have passed the end of the third week of the closure, though it must be asked whether the closure was necessary at all. Do all departing church staff enjoy four weeks' gardening leave?
In the intervening period, the Church has issued some vague and conflicting information about the temporary arrangements it intends to put in place to allow ongoing access. Yet it has thus far done nothing to effect these plans, and postgraduates, academics and others have been left in the lurch, unable to continue their research. Moreover, although we await official word from the Church, it appears the bishops propose to scatter the SCA across the country's eight dioceses. We can only wonder as to how they plan to ensure regular access to the collections if it has been beyond them these past three weeks with a single centralised facility. This is a facility, moreover, that they feel they can no longer underwrite, although presumably scattering the collections will entail much greater annual costs, if the Church is serious about ensuring the proper care and management of these collections.
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