08 September 2014

Sadly, Another Genealogy Room Has Closed ...

You may remember that just the other week we reported on Reference Room Closing -- Oregon State Library.  We just recently read of another library which is down-sizing its genealogy collection -- Library removes genealogy, history room.

So it is with the Garland County Library, where patrons who had previously relied on its genealogical and historical troves to trace their origins can now do it remotely through online databases. No longer a necessary intermediary linking the past to the present, the Hiram Whittington Arkansas Local History and Genealogy Room lapsed into a forlorn space, The Sentinel-Record reported (http://bit.ly/1lsuPeS).

Though the materials previously in the library will be moved to local societies and continue to be available to the public (via The Melting Pot Genealogical Society and the Garland County Historical Society), they will now be less centralized and I was surprised to read that the holdings included “Ledgers bearing original minutes from Hot Springs’ earliest city council meetings in the 1870s and 80s ...”  These sound like neat records.

Though we understand that need (or lack of utility) drives many of the decisions to close facilities, it is still painful to read about.  It also, indirectly, perpetuates the “myth” that everything needed to trace one’s origins can be done “remotely through online databases.”  We all know that is NOT true!

And, as I read about this, I also learned that the History and Genealogy Reading Room (Connecticut State Library) re-opened yesterday after undergoing renovations!  That at least was a dose of needed “good” news.

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