By Daniel Hubbard | January 15, 2011
Two events of the past week make me feel that the Fates have decided that this week’s post will be about libraries.
I’m a self-confessed library junkie. My local library, only blocks away, shut down months ago for renovations and the building of an addition. In the meantime, there was a “Temporary Library Center” in a storefront. I have to say that it worked far better than I expected and I visited often. One way or another I got quite a bit done. You could request books from the warehouse but that limits the browsing options. There were a few computers but the demand was often higher than the availability. I could get microfilm through interlibrary loan but the microfilm had to be sent to a nearby library in another district so that I could view it. It all worked but it wasn’t a real library. You could see the anticipation (desperation?) in the librarians’ faces as the temporary library center’s final day approached. Then it closed in preparation for the library’s coming reopening. For two weeks, there was only the bookmobile.
Then last Saturday came the grand reopening of the new library building. I’ve been there every day since. Some of the librarians have mentioned getting me a gold star for perfect attendance. I’ve checked out armloads of books for research. I’ve perused and used the new genealogy section. I’ve gone with my kids. I’ve gone by myself. I’ve enjoyed the change of scenery and the quiet. I’ve also watched the excitement of people who, like me, have been waiting to have their library back. There is nothing to restore ones faith in humanity like the sight and sound of people literally jumping up and down with excitement the moment they walk into a library.
The other library event of the last week was somewhat less exciting—more the opposite actually. I’m first vice president of my county genealogical society and we are now busy packing up our books, computers, periodicals, microfilms, CDs, obituary files, probate books etc. We’re looking for new meeting space. We’re hunting for a new permanent home for our collection and a temporary home as well, so that our patrons don’t lose access to our materials for too long. We are in the process of losing our library home. One library giveth, another taketh away.
Kick off Those Fuzzy Slippers
In these days of pajama-clad genealogical surfers trying to catch a family history wave, it is easy to forget that there are resources in libraries that you can’t get online. The possibility to research at home in a bathrobe at midnight may be a great thing but it isn’t everything. A library may even have online resources that can be accessed through the library that you can’t get at home in you pj’s.
What’s at the library?
- Librarians that can answer your questions and help you find new resources
- Books with genealogical data
- Books for learning about genealogy
- Genealogy periodicals
- Books and periodicals that aren’t specifically for genealogists but that can really help
- Online resources that you don’t have access to at home
- CDs that qualify as genealogical mood music
- Special collections of newspapers, photos, maps etc
- Peace and quiet
- A change of scenery
- Living people who just might share your interest
So rise up from your keyboard, throw off your bunny slippers and sweatpants, put on your jeans and walking shoes and make some progress at a library.
That’s all for now. Believe it or not, I actually need to get to the library.Twitter It!