Along with about 30 members of the genealogy community in the Washington, DC area, I attended a meeting on May 25 at the Library of Congress where we were apprised of upcoming changes that will affect the Local History and Genealogy Room (LH&G) as well as 5 other Reading Rooms (Microform and Machine Readable, Science & Technology, Business, Newspaper and Current Periodical, and Main Reading Rooms).
The Library of Congress is consolidating these 5 Reading Rooms into one central "Center of Knowledge" area, which will be located in the Main Reading Room in the Jefferson Building (the beautiful room that is spotlighted in movies).
The purpose of this consolidation is to meet the needs of today's researchers who seek to access multiple disciplines for their focus of study -- which can include books, photos, maps, film and Twitter feeds (among other social media).
The goal is to make the Library of Congress viable for the future. Directors are watching trends and responding to the changing needs of researchers across all disciplines and throughout all locations.
The Local History & Genealogy Reference (LH&G) Collection is scheduled to move from its present location to its new location in on Deck7 (Alcove 3) of the Main Reading Room by the end of 2013. Other individual reading rooms, such as Newspapers and Current Periodical Room, the Science & Technology, and Business will follow.
The LH&G will not reduce hours, staff or resources. Their operation will only be moved, not cut. The genealogy collection as it is currently organized will be kept in its entirety.
As the various reading rooms are consolidated into the Center of Knowledge, their Reference Librarians will be cross-trained to assist patrons in any subject area. Staff who are trained in specific subjects (such as genealogy) will be identified so people who need help with a specific area of expertise can be directed to the proper person. Reference staff who specialize in digital media will be part of this consolidation and thus be readily available to assist researchers with accessing digital content.
In addition, the Center of Knowledge will have several training areas which can be used by both Library of Congress staff and outside organizations for meetings, educational groups and training classes. This consolidation process is on a five year track, due to be fully operational by Winter 2016.
A joint venture between FamilySearch and the Maryland Archives to digitize Wills and Probate Records is well underway. Since June, thousands of documents spanning the mid-1800’s to 1940’s have been processed and imaged. Carroll County is almost completed, and we are ready to begin on Caroline & Baltimore counties and Baltimore City. Digitized images will be made be available at no cost at FamilySearch.org.
Additional help is need for document prep work, which includes removing fasteners and flattening documents. An index is created as each document is prepared, which will make the records name-searchable immediately. Volunteers can work anytime between 8:30 & 4:30 on a day of their choice at the Archives building at 350 Rowe Boulevard in Annapolis. For additional information, contact email@example.com and see http://fsmav.blogspot.com.
At the Maryland Archives this morning the Reading Room was closed because a camera crew from Who Do You Think You Are was filming for a piece featuring actor Chris O'Donnell (NCIS). Very cool!
And.... our FamilySearch-Maryland Archive Digitization project officially starts on Friday!
- Washington DC Family History Center; Citizen Archivist at National ArchivesCo-Director, present
- FamilySearchVolunteer Coordinator, present
- National ArchivesCitizen Archivist, present
- University of Maryland, College Park
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