PUBLIC ACCESS POLICY

INTRODUCTION

The Argyle Township Court House & Archives strives to make its building, collection and archives accessible first and foremost to the citizens of the Municipality of Argyle in Yarmouth County, NS.

It further strives to make its building, collection and archives accessible to the public at large and to its sponsoring bodies, the Municipal Council of the Municipality of the District of Argyle and the members of the Argyle Municipality Historical & Genealogical Society.

The Argyle Township Court House & Archives houses a limited collection of artifacts which are used to interpret the history of Canada's oldest courthouse, within the context of the local area and the province. Its artifacts and archival collection are further used and designed to interpret the history of the administration of local government and local justice as it transpired from this building.

The Argyle Township Court House Archives also houses the records generated by the Municipality of District of Argyle, and prior to 1879, the Township of Argyle. The Archives also houses records collected from a wide variety of sources, pertaining to the history of the communities, families, institutions, etc. that make up the Municipality.

EQUALITY OF ACCESS

The Argyle Township Court House & Archives will provide equality of access to its holdings to all people.

RESTRICTIONS ON RECORDS

Restrictions on Government Records
The Argyle Township Court House Archives holds some restricted government records. These restrictions are determined by provincial legislation and by the Freedom of Information and the Right to Privacy Acts. In cases where certain government records are restricted, they remain closed for 80 years from their date of creation.

Restrictions on Other Records
The Archives occasionally accepts materials by gift or by loan, which the donors or loaners wish to place restrictions on. Although the archives usually discourages placing such restrictions, when this is deemed necessary it is carried out. Our archives for instance holds copies of all of the microfilmed Roman Catholic Church Records for the Diocese of Yarmouth. These are restricted records.

ACCESS TO RESTRICTED RECORDS

Access to Restricted Government Records
Individuals have the right to apply to see restricted government records pertaining to themselves only. This may be done by completing an Access to Information Form that the archives will provide.

Access to Other Restricted Records
In the case of other restricted records, which are not governmental in nature, there will often be an option for obtaining permission to use the records for research purposes. For instance, in the case of the Roman Catholic Records for the Diocese of Yarmouth, a letter of permission may be issued by the Catholic Chancery Office in Yarmouth, NS The archives will supply the proper address and telephone numbers for obtaining permission in such cases.

INTELLECTUAL ACCESS

Catalogues & Finding Aids
The Argyle Township Court House & Archives strives at all times to provide intellectual access to the records of the institution. This is done by continually producing and improving upon a wide range of card indexes, fonds level descriptions, inventories, shelf lists, computer databases and other finding aids designed to make its records more accessible.

Reference Services
The Argyle Township Court House & Archives provides the following reference services:

  1. Research Carried out in Person - Researchers who use the collection in person will be given assistance in locating materials by the staff. Every effort will be made to put the needed records in the hands of the researcher, and to satisfy their research needs. The staff is encouraged to educate the researchers in the use of the facility, rather than do the researcher's work for them.
  2. Research Queries By Mail - The Argyle Township Court House Archives does attempt to satisfy "research-by-mail" requests. Due to a limited staff, only inquiries requiring one hour or less of staff time can be handled without charging the client, and such free requests will be limited to a one time basis, per client. See fee schedules below.
  3. Research Queries by e-mail can be sent to Argyle Township Court House & Archives at tusket@hotmail.com . Queries by e-mail will be subject to the same fee schedule as “Research Queries by Mail”.
  4. Research Queries by Telephone - Due to a limited staff, only very limited queries can be accepted by phone, and those involving extended staff time will be subject to the same fee schedule as "Research Queries by Mail."
  5. The Argyle Township Court House & Archives reserves the right to provide any of the above services, free-of-charge, if it is deemed that a valuable exchange of information will result from the transaction, that will be beneficial to the institution and is in line with its mandate and mission statement.
  6. The Argyle Township Court House & Archives will attempt wherever possible to supply reference services to other heritage related institutions for free, or at reduced rates.

PHYSICAL ACCESS TO RECORDS & OTHER REFERENCE MATERIALS

Access to The Library
While the Argyle Township Court House & Archives retains its present (1996) physical lay-out, the public has free and open access to all books and other published materials held in the open stacks.

Access to Genealogy Files
Genealogy files are also open to the public and materials will be retrieved by staff at the request of the researcher.

Access to Other Records

  1. All records and finding aids held in binders on the open shelves in the library are accessible to researchers and may be retrieved by them. This includes such things as Gravestone Inventory, Funeral Records, Deeds, Yarmouth County census records, etc.
  2. Microform - Records held on microform are available for direct retrieval by researchers, with the exception of any restricted records.
  3. All other records, held in the library, in the fireproof vault or in the Grand Jury Room will be retrieved by staff members only.

COPYING SERVICES

A photocopying machine is supplied on the premises. All photocopying of materials requiring careful handling will be carried out by staff. Copying restrictions will apply to fragile items. The public will be permitted to carry out some of their own copying at the discretion of the staff. Photographic items will be photocopied at the discretion of the staff.

Where photographic copies of photographic items are required, this will be handled by staff only. It is not the policy of the Argyle Township Court House Archives to loan original photographic items or negatives.

USE OF MATERIALS FROM ARCHIVES FOR PUBLICATION

When materials from the Argyle Township Court House & Archives are used for the purposes of publication, proper acknowledgement must be given to the institution.

SECURITY OF RECORDS

Proper security will be provided for all records held by the institution. Restricted records and materials which are physically fragile will be housed in the fireproof vault or the Grand Jury Room. Physical access to these records will be by staff only.

REVISION OF POLICY

This policy is subject to periodic revision, as are the fee schedules. Revised and passed by Directors 13 Feb. 1997


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