Friday, January 8, 2010

52 Weeks to Better Genealogy: #1 My Local Public Library

Amy Coffin of We Tree has started a series of challenges entitled "52 Weeks to Better Genealogy".
Week #1 is: "Go to your local public library branch. Make a note of the genealogy books in the collection that may help you gain research knowledge. Don’t forget to check the shelves in both the non-fiction section and the reference section. If you do not already have a library card, take the time to get one. If you have a genealogy blog, write about what you find in your library’s genealogy collection."
I have a love-hate relationship with my city's public library. I LOVE the books contained within it's four walls. I HATE the parking to be able to get into those said four walls. I love in a city of about 80,000 people. The public library's parking lot has 17 parking spots. No that is not a typo nor a transposition. 17 parking spots for the whole library. I had time to count while I slowly cruised through looking for an empty one (no such luck). There is also some very limited street parking. I have no idea how long this library has been at it's current location but it's certainly been there for as long as I have lived in this area. That also means that the city's population was roughly half it's current size (or less) when this library came into being. We have been one of those boom locations across the country in the last two decades that is now bordering on bust!

One of the other things I LOVE about this library is their staff. They are all very helpful people including the nice lady at the information desk that directed me to the upstairs 929.1 section that contains their genealogy section. If you read Amy's post on her library's genealogy section, I can say that my library's section may be just slightly larger, but not by much. I found many "how-to" type volumes that are primarily geared towards beginners, as well as a couple of ethnic-based resources for Scottish, Italian or Spanish genealogies. Before I went down to the library, I had already reviewed their offerings online and between the other public libraries across this region, there are more options available. Unfortunately, some of their books are not the most recent edition. I found two instances of books that I own that are more recent editions than those of the library's.

I did manage to find two books to check out. The first is by Megan Smolenyak entitled, "Honoring Our Ancestors." I have long wanted to read this book as I have heard some wonderful things about it. The second was "The Family Tree Problem Solver" by Marsha Hoffman Rising. I'm hoping for some new tips or strategies to help with a couple of problem areas. I have a lot of reading to do; the books are due back on the 29th.


  1. I really enjoy your blog and I have given you a HAPPY 101 SWEET FRIENDS AWARD. Please stop by Roots’n’Leaves to pick it up.

  2. Tracy, thank you for your kind comments on my article about Volunteering over at Reflections From the Fence. I have signed on as a follower. You are doing a great job here! Cannot wait to read more.

  3. Thanks Carol. I enjoy your blog as well.

  4. Hi Tracy,
    It's interesting that you talked about the staff. I feel guilty now because I forgot to mention that at my library there are wonderful volunteers who spend countless hours helping people in the genealogy section, and acting as advocates for family historians.
    Evelyn in Montreal