Thursday, January 28, 2010

52 Weeks To Better Genealogy - - Library challenges

Amy of  We Tree has this great program of 52 challenges, 3 so far this year have been about learning what your local public library can do to help you in your research. For example, this weeks challenge reads in part: Learn about your local public library's inter-library loan (ILL) policy.

As many of you know, Man and I are RVing part of the winter months away. So, since I am not home, I am going to take a slightly different approach, lumping several of the challenges together and talking about a library that I adore.

Let me introduce you to the Mid-Continent Public Library.

But, first, a little of my own experiences with Inter-Library loans and genealogy books. Usually if I am interested in a genie book when I do a catalog search for it, I find it is a “restricted” book. My experience, and yours could be different, of course, is that Family Surname books and many other family history specific works are not included in inter-library loan programs. Many of the libraries feel these works are too valuable to allow out of their library buildings. I can see that as a valid attitude.

It is pretty frustrating knowing that that book is out there at “XYZ” Library in “QRS” town. Course, if “QRS” town is 2248 miles from where you live, chances could be pretty slim you will ever get there, and that book is on the restricted list. "Blast", you exclaim!

But are you aware that there is one library that maintains a “lending” library of genealogical works, and they just LOVE lending out those books, family surname books and more! Yesssssss indeedy, that library is the Mid-Continent Public Library. They maintain a special collection of books, genealogy books, that they will circulate.  This collection has around 10,000 books!

Now, before you get so excited you hyperventilate, lets get this straight, not every book in their regular collection (which numbers about 60,000) is in this special collection. They may have 2 copies of the book and one will reside in the special collection. However, I have found books listed in the circulating collection that do not seem to be in the regular collection. Thus, you need to know what to look for when surfing around in their online catalog.

OKKKK, so, you are gonna surf over there and check this out, right?? But, of course. Here is an example of a book that you can inter-library loan from Mid-Continent Public Library.

See that last line? Note the words, Circulating GE Book Special Collection. That is the clue you are looking for.  To see this graphic better, please click on it, using the back button to return here to Reflections From the Fence.

The library many years ago had special booklets available with all the books in that collection listed, this page talks about the current collection and how to access it.  The booklets are no longer available.

To determine how to order a book from the Mid-Continent Public Library Special Collections please read this page carefully , please read about the "que". If the book you were requesting from the Mid-Continent Public Library Special Collection is out on loan to another patron, they will put your request in a que.  This means of course, that you might have to wait for several months to be first on the list. The wait is worth it!

The library encourages those that compile and author new works that are genealogy based to donate to the library. Acording to this page,  "Donations of new or gently-used books are always welcomed. You may send them ... at the mailing address below. Please indicate that your donation is for the Genealogy from the Heartland Collection."
Might I also humbly suggest, that if you write or compile a family history book, consider donating to this library. When I did so, I sent one copy bound, the other copy UNbound. They would hard cover bind the copy for the special collections program, hard bound books ship better than soft bound. By donating, your work can be shared with family researchers years after your have passed to your greater rewards. What a good thing.

You can start your online study of this great library and the collections here, Genealogy and Family History at the Mid-Continent Public Library. You will find some history about the Genealogical collection on this page.  The library has an in debth web site, spend some time there, I have just scratched the surface.

*Amy's challenges are introduced week by week at GeneaBloggers.  Surf in, have a look, try one out, even if you don't blog, you will have fun and I know you will learn something new.

**As a side note, one of the benefits of being an Rver and a family researcher is that I can arrange stops in campgrounds near libraries such as the Mid-Continent Public Library, which Man and I did a few years ago. I had a great research week! Great facility, nice staff, I can highly recommend it.

Copyright 2010, CABS for Reflections From the Fence.


PalmsRV said...

Hi Carol,

Because I used to borrow books from the Mid-Continent Library several years ago through ILL, it was really exciting for me to research in person there this fall because we, too, travel full time in the RV. Terrific post.


Amanda Acquard said...

I had never heard of this library. Thank you for introducing it to me!

Amy Coffin, MLIS said...

Carol, I am so amazed that you're doing this challenge in your home on wheels. I promise, there aren't many more library-related tasks. Most encourage browsing on the Internet, so it should get easier for you here on out. Thanks for sharing Mid-Continent's system with us.

hummer said...

I am impressed. Thanks for the tip. will surf over.