Monday, November 24, 2014

A Virtual Tour of the Family History Library

The FGS 2015 conference is fewer than three months away and many attendees are already starting to dream about visiting the Family History Library while they are in Salt Lake City.

The Family History Library, which houses the world’s largest collection of family history materials, is within walking distance of the Salt Palace Convention Center and many conference hotels.  Some attendees will add a few days to their trip, either before or after the conference, while others may prefer to schedule some research time on conference days.

Library Hours

Normal hours for the library are:

Monday: 8 AM to 5 PM
Tuesday through Friday: 8 AM to 9 PM
Saturday: 9 AM to 5 PM
Sunday: Closed

The library will will be open 8 AM to 5 PM on Presidents Day (Monday, February 16) for those who are planning to research after the conference is over.

Library Layout

There are five floors: three aboveground levels and two basement levels.

Each floor has computers available for patron use, with access to the FamilySearch website, including the FHL Catalog, FamilySearch databases, and the major commercial databases. Restrooms are also available on each floor. Printers, copiers, and scanners can be found throughout the library.

The Main Floor, which is where you enter the library from the outside, has a reference desk where you can ask questions and buy a copy card (necessary if you want to make print copies from books or microfilm). There is a vending area, in case you want to grab a snack without leaving the library. There are also lockers, so that you can store your coat and other items that aren’t needed while researching.

There is also a new “Discovery Area” on the Main Floor. You can bring photos and documents from home and scan them using them using photo scanning equipment. Family Story booths in the Discovery Area allow you to make video and audio recordings and save them to a flash drive (2 GB flash drive recommended).

Repeat Library visitors will notice some changes to the B1, B2, and second floors. These floors have had reference desks in the past, but are being renovated to include new consultation areas. The B1 International floor, for example, now has separate consultation areas to assist patrons with European, Nordic, and Latin American research.

Finding Research Materials at the Library

Each floor is dedicated to a particular type of research material.

Third Floor:  US Books and Maps
Second Floor:  US and Canada Microfilms
Main Floor:  Family History and Canada Books
Basement 1: International
Basement 2: British Isles
3rd Floor: US and Canada Books
3rd Floor – US and Canada Books
The books in the Family History section on the Main floor are compiled genealogies, shelved in alphabetical order by surname. However, these books are being digitized and placed online at FamilySearch, so if you don’t find the book you are looking for, it may have been pulled off the shelf for digitization.

The other floors (as well as the Canada Books section on the Main floor) house locality books and/or microfilms. These include local history books, abstracts and transcripts, or images of original records for the locality.
2nd Floor: US and Canada Microfilm
2nd Floor – US and Canada Microfilm
Not all microfilm rolls are housed at the library. Be sure to review the FamilySearch Catalog ahead of time for any microfilm roll you may want to view.  Any items labelled “vault” must be ordered and can take up to three days to arrive, so it is better to pre-order those.

How to Get Help at the Library

Volunteers are available on each floor to answer questions. You can also sign up for a consultation with a research specialist.  A recent innovation allows you to continue researching while waiting for your consultation; you will receive a “restaurant-style” pager that will notify you when the research specialist is available to meet with you.

Close proximity to the Family History Library is only one of many reasons to attend the FGS 2015 conference. Have you registered yet? If not, check out the full program and register today.
FGS 2015 Logo

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