Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Genealogy Reference Desk Institute

On Friday, 15 January, I attended the American Library Association's "The Genealogy Reference Desk: Where Everyone Knows Your Name" at the New England Historic Genealogical Society. The NEHGS is located in the historic Back Bay area of Boston in a gorgeous old bank.

The first session was "Sustainability in Genealogical Collections" by D. Brenton Simons, president of the NEHGS. He began by discussing the the Society, which was formed in 1845. They currently have a reference librarian whose entire purpose is to be online to "spread the intellectual capital." I had never realized how much information they have on areas outside of New England, which is shown in their online catalog and portals such as their new AficanAmericanAncestors.org (coming February 3rd). They are even changing their journal name to "American Ancestors" and we were the first outside of staff to get a sneak preview at the cover.

He went on to discuss the importance of a service culture in libraries, quick tips for libraries during economic downturns and strategic planning information. My favorite tip he gave was that your goal should always be "aim to thrive, not just survive." This is what has helped them to thrive during the poor economy when so many others have not.

I will continue my report on the Institute tomorrow, when I will discuss "An Overview of American Colonial Records" by David Dearborn.

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