Kollies Genealogy

Libraries are dead…aren’t they?

As a child I used to visit the local library all the time, once every 3 weeks with school on a Tuesday afternoon, and various times with my mum to pick up a new book to delve in to for a couple of weeks.

During my sixth form years I used the library for research, not all the time but when I couldn’t find what I needed in my schools library, or easily available online (this was before broadband, Wikipedia, google, etc).

After this my use of libraries diminished, if I needed something for work I’d use my home PC, blackberry, or later my iPhone. I never thought libraries would exist anymore in any capacity other than for the storage of old books, I imagined they’d be stuck in an era that time was quickly forgetting, a time of bleached hair, popper tracksuit pants, and the spice girls.

So, when I started my genealogy research and found out I could access the major genealogy websites for free at my local library, I thought ‘why not see if it’s still open?’.

I was amazed at the changes that had occurred, long gone was the security gate stopping people coming and going without being signed in/out, also the mangy old carpets had been replaced with fresh new ones, and the main difference was the PC’s, they where everywhere.

The PC’s allowed free Internet access providing you where a member (also free), and if you went down to the Ground floor (weird setup) the library was full of old local records, microfilm, and a few PC’s. All this was bundled together with a librarian who was passionate about genealogy, asking questions about my own research, and sharing tips about how to breakthrough those early stumbling blocks I had come across. Printouts where 10p a page, and the library also allowed USB sticks to be inserted so you could save the research straight on to it, and yes this was also free! I was converted, I suddenly saw the library as a fresh, new, exciting place to be, and since have spent several hours every day off on the ground floor, researching.

So I would like to close by saying…get down to your local library, they’re definitely not dead!

Links: Halton Library - http://www3.halton.gov.uk/educationandlearning/libraries/

Feel free to send me a tweet to @kollies about your own family history research.

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