This summer is proving to be an extremely busy one in our reading rooms. Last month (July) saw a record number of original documents requested. Overall 68,085 original documents were delivered to the various reading rooms, comfortably eclipsing our previous record of 66,141 requests in July 2010. The high level of demand was sustained throughout the month and on several days we came tantalisingly close to beating our single day record of 3,500 productions. On the busiest day we were producing a document on average every 8.3 seconds.
Despite this we have managed to maintain a good standard of delivery times, averaging 38 minutes to deliver documents to the public. We have also maintained, and in some areas improved, our document handling standards. Our recently introduced document returns system has worked well: files and loose items are now returned in sealed document containers so that any risk of damage from heavy or boxed documents is removed.
We expect to deliver over 600,000 original documents to our users by the end of this financial year – roughly 80% of these requests delivered on demand to readers.