Friday, April 15, 2011

Importance of Libraries to Family Historians

National Library Week, April 10-16
Recently I penned a white paper for supporting the importance of libraries and librarians to genealogists and our family research.  In writing this article, I was certain to touch on libraries of all sizes, niches, and in a variety of regions. See what the librarians told me.

Kim Bonen of the public library of Aberdeen South Dakota was able to recently prove a client's family rumor by using her in-house index.  Certain questions can be easily answered with the aid of a small town's library.
Jean Lythgoe, a walking wealth of knowledge on Rockford, IL, Winnebago County, was able to bring down a brick wall on a client file using the Rockfordiana, a collection of newspapers. Jean reminds us that our research is successful only with the help of our knowledgeable librarians.
Jeremy Drouin, in the Missouri Valley Special Collections, best explains why I frequently visit this repository for my Missouri research. Local collections can be the first step to bringing down that brick wall in your research.  I relied on this special collection of books to research for the Ashley Judd episode of Who Do You Think You Are? 
Cheryl Lang outlines library programs offered at the Midwest Genealogy Center in Independence Mo.

What does your library do for you? Join the conversation.

Kathleen Brandt

To read the full white paper visit: National Library Week 2011: The Importance of Libraries in Genealogical Research. 

From blog: 
Libraries have long been an important resource for genealogists and family historians, and the advent of sophisticated digital archiving technology has further solidified their integral role to the family history researcher. Many libraries boast multiple public record databases and decades of archived newspaper pages, in addition to many other historical resources.

Unfortunately, in recent years, many libraries have been forced to cut back due to budget restrictions. That's why, in honor of National Library Week this week, we have started an awareness campaign to help keep local libraries well-funded and operational within our communities.

Expert Genealogist Kathleen Brandt conducted interviews with several important researchers and compiled her findings into an article, which you can download below.

Additionally, we've put together a visual graphic representing this pivotal moment for the American library system, taking a look at American attitudes toward libraries and reviewing their financial predicament.

We are asking every single librarian, teacher, and concerned citizen to help us spread the message of why libraries are important to the family history community. If you would like to take part in our awareness campaign, please share these resources with your readers, friends, and family, and help us celebrate National Library Week!


  1. I strongly concur, Kathleen. I used the local resources in the Bureau County, Illinois, to find information on my KINNICK family that was available no where else! Support your local library and their unique collections! ;-)

  2. Kathleen-

    Thank you so much for supporting and promoting public libraries. We are here to help. Not everyone is aware of the resources available to them. Thanks for getting the word out!

    -Kim Bonen