From: Marie Varrelman Melchiori, CG, CGL
I'd like to post my response to the NARA statement on improving services on your page.
The NARA Press release made it sound like the A-2 Consultant's Office/Finding Aids room was in the library. It's not. It's in the 2nd floor Textual Research Room. It's a separate glass enclosed room.
A description from another researcher:
The consultants area of Archives II is quite nice. It's in an enclosed glass room along a wall in the main research room. It's just a few steps to walk from where you sit when you look at records to their room talk to them and turn in your requests, and they're adjacent to the desk where you pick up your records. There are several tables in there and the walls are lined with books and finding aids. I would not have said it's been in place for several years, just two at the most, and I don't recall any adjacent offices where the consultants can go to do other work (but I could be wrong about that). It's certainly better now than it used to be -- having to ask a staff member to take you through a secure door off the back of the research room. The only complaint I can imagine is that there might be more researchers in there now because the consultants are more conveniently located.
It has changed positions in the Research Room. Used to be as you walked in now it's in the back. They had the "Preliminary Inventories" as well as the locator books, those are the ones that give you the location in the stack area where the records you want to look at are stored. At A-1 the staff fills in the location, at A-2 you fill in the location.
Yes, she's right that for years you were escorted through locked doors to a specific Archivists Office/Finding Aids room [either Civil or Military]. They had more specific Finding Aids in their space than was found in the textual room.
Marie Varrelman Melchiori, CG, CGL
Melchiori Research Services, L.L.C.
CG, Certified Genealogist and CGL, Certified Genealogical Lecturer are service marks of the Board for Certification of Genealogists, used under license by Board-certified associates after periodic competency evaluations.