Mulling over the types of interlibrary loan requests we receive at MLS, it’s quite clear that the patrons at our member libraries are history buffs and genealogy enthusiasts. We thought we’d take the time in our blog this week to remind you about a great service provided by FamilySearch (by the Church of Latter-Day Saints). FamilySearch has local history centers in nearly twenty locations in Massachusetts, through which patrons can order and receive microfilm records of genealogy materials. There is a nominal fee for services, but all in all the program is quite inexpensive (you need to sign in to get pricing for your area).
Your patron can start with the FamilySearch catalog,which contains many options for searching, including by Place, Surname, Title, Author, Subject, and Keyword. Once the patron pinpoints the desired material, she or he can ask your library to request the microfilm through the online order form. Loans last 90 days, although FamilySearch does offer extended loan periods upon request.
We hope this information is useful for you, and that your patrons will be able to find more about their family trees by using FamilySearch.
Comment and wonderful advice from Jean Williams, Lexington Public Library:
Thanks for writing about FamilySearch microfilm. With the ever-increasing interest in genealogy, more patrons will be wanting to borrow films from the LDS. But your description of borrowing microfilm from FamilySearch is not quite the way it works.
The LDS for a number of years now has been phasing out its local Family History Centers. There used to be one in Cambridge and in Boston; now there is only one in Weston, which has very limited hours. Instead, the LDS has instituted a Library Affiliate program. Any library that has a microfilm reader and a place to hold microfilm can apply to become an affiliated library. The procedure is very simple. We set it up at Cary Library in Lexngton a couple of years ago. I believe the Andover Library and the Chelmsford Library are also Affiliates. What this means is that patrons can order microfilm from FamilySearch for a nominal fee and have it sent, not to the Family History Center, but to the affiliated library of their choice. We at the library have an online check-in system that notifies the patron when their film has arrived. We hold the film for three months, the patron comes in and views the film whenever they like, and then we send back the film in postage-paid mailers to the LDS in Salt Lake City. It’s an easy procedure for us, and makes viewing the film easy for the patron as well–a win-win for both.
And we’re hoping to find the money for a fancy new microfilm reader this year.
If anyone wants to talk more about the FamilySearch system, feel free to call me or e-mail me: Jean Williams, Reference, Cary Library in Lexington, 781-862-6288 ext 84415; firstname.lastname@example.org. I work Tuesdays 12-9pm and Thursdays 9-6pm.