31 August 2011
The Bodleian Library of the University of Oxford has recently been awarded accreditation under VisitEngland’s Visitor Attraction Quality Assurance Scheme (VAQAS). The Library’s visitor facilities were assessed by VisitEngland’s independent assessors. The assessors summarised their visit with the words ‘This remarkable site, described by Sir Nikolaus Pevsner as unique in the world, is very well interpreted by the complementary resources of audio tour, guided tour and guide book, all of which are very good to excellent’., The Library will be awarded a VisitEngland plaque by John Hoy. Mr Hoy is a Board Member of VisitEngland and Chief Executive of the Blenheim Estate; he will present the plaque to Richard Ovenden, Deputy Librarian of the Bodleian Libraries, on Tuesday 30 August at 2pm.
VAQAS is managed by VisitEngland and, through its network of regional assessors, boasts a strong reputation for instigating, modifying and shaping change to the customer experience at visitor attractions across England. To become a member, an attraction is ‘road tested’ by a mystery assessor visit. The assessment is thorough and looks at all aspects of the visitor experience, including telephone and email responses, the website and general ease of use. The report on the Bodleian noted the Library’s ‘exceptionally good welcome’, ‘excellent customer service’ and ‘best practices’.
Following successful trials in 1998 in the South West and then in the East of England, VAQAS was launched centrally by VisitEngland in 2001. The scheme encourages participants to make VAQAS work for them as a management tool.
Members of the press and photographers were invited to attend the short ceremony in the Convocation House, The Old Bodleian Library, on Tuesday 30 August.