Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Principles of Effective Genealogy Librarianship

It's time for another installment in our series of blog posts about the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG).  Today's guest blogger is Course 7 Coordinator, Drew Smith.

One of the biggest difficulties in being a genealogy librarian is that relevant education is hard to come by. Very few library schools offer a course in genealogical librarianship, and continuing education for genealogy librarians usually consists of a single hour or at best a one-day series of workshops covering a very limited number of topics. But what if you could experience a full five days of classes designed to carry you through the entire spectrum of issues faced by genealogy librarians? Now you can have that opportunity.

You already know the basics of librarianship, and you likely have a grounding in the basics of genealogical research. This course will take you further by addressing twenty different skills and knowledge bases that any modern genealogy librarian will need to develop as part of their profession. While many librarians engage in reference interviews, collection development, library instruction for their patrons, and professional development for themselves, this course will take each of those topics and look at them from the special viewpoint of a genealogy librarian.

We’ll cover in detail the kinds of resources most used by genealogists in the typical library, such as newspapers, published materials, and manuscripts, but we’ll also bring to light the other useful resources found in a typical library but not usually thought of as a part of the genealogy collection. We’ll discuss the new online tools that have become critical only in the 21st century, such as Ancestry Library Edition, HeritageQuest Online, Footnote.com, and social networking services. And we’ll address the importance of the genealogy library in leading the way in digitization projects for local materials.

Genealogy librarians, perhaps more than any other kind of librarian, need to understand how to work with volunteers and local societies, and we’ll learn about the best practices in these areas. What happens when patrons want to donate their own materials? How do you market your library’s genealogy resources and services so that they are used to the fullest? What kinds of ethical and legal issues are you likely to encounter as a genealogy librarian? We’ll address those questions, too. Finally, we’ll explore as a group the hot-topic issues of genealogical librarianship, drawing upon the interests and experiences of the students.

This course will also provide you with the unique opportunity to network with your fellow students, each of whom is very likely to bring to the course a wealth of knowledge and experience that they can share with us all. Of course, there will also be plenty of time during the week to enjoy the resources of the Family History Library. As a genealogy librarian, what more could you ask for?

Thanks, Drew!  If you are a genealogy librarian register for the course or check out more details here.

This article reprinted with permission of the Utah Genealogical Association. To learn more about the Utah Genealogical Association (UGA) or the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG), please visit their website at: ugagenealogy.org.

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