21 August 2013

Tuesday Tip - Collaboration and a Behind the Scenes Tour of ACPL at FGS2013

Good morning! I'm having to learn all about brevity...I wanted to write a lovely, long post about the amazing day I had yesterday at Librarians' Day, but I have to get ready to get back to the Library! So, without further ado...

I hit the road from Delphos, Ohio very late. The trip from there to Ft. Wayne was entirely without incident, so I pulled into the parking lot at 8:25. No time for socializing, but Registration got me on my way to the Theater for the opening at 8:30. We heard from Amy Johnson Crow & Delia Cothrun Bourne, the 2013 Librarians' Day Coordinators. They deserve a great round of applause for putting together a wonderful set of speakers and an amazing tour of the facility. Thanks, ladies!!  Jeffrey Krull, the Director of ACPL and Melissa Shmikus, Assistant Director and FGS Director also had some opening remarks. Then...

Kris Rzepczynski, the Senior Archivist at the Archives of Michigan spoke about collaboration to build and preserve collections. All I can say is he's a great speaker who understands that adding a touch of humor can keep the audiences attention while stilling getting your message across. He framed his subject around the dismantling of the Library & Archives of Michigan (which started in 2009) and how, in the end (as of today), the Genealogical Collection has a wonderful home and is available for all researchers. The trouble, as I see it, is that not enough people actually KNEW there was a moment when material might have been moved away or scraped. That's right - scraped. I hope that we all connect in a bit more to the collections, big and small, that we use for our research and stay aware of challenges they have due to budget constraints. How can you know? Just ask. Ask the staff. If they can't/won't tell you, check meeting minutes for public entities and professional forums for private ones. If they're at risk, it's being talked about somewhere and the sooner the genealogical community can come together to assist in providing a solution, the better the chance is that things will turn out like they did in Michigan. Oh, by the way, have you SEEN the website they have? Check it out at www.seekingmichigan.org!

Elaine Kuhn, the Kentucky History Services Coordinator from the Kenton County (KY) Public Library then shared her suggestions on how Libraries can work with local organizations to preserve and make accessible (sound familiar) primary materials at risk of being destroyed because the owners don't know what to do with them. The highlights were images of George Clooney (his family is from that area) and a photo of a gentleman (I didn't note his name) wearing his "Military Order of the Cooties" hat and uniform! Too funny, but an actual organization.

Lunch was sponsored by ProQuest and we had a brief presentation by Bill Forsythe who is the Director of Product Development. For those who go to their Public Library often, ProQuest has some great additions to their products. And, for those who work in Libraries, well, same goes. What caught my attention is they're adding Lesson Plans for Teachers. Love the idea of using the information available to enhance the learning experience.

OK. Here's where I have to admit that the call of my genea-friends (who I hadn't seen for TOO long) and the Library got the best of me. I admit it, I'm weak. I didn't go to the afternoon panel discussion because I heard the siren song of dead people calling my name. Don't judge me. LOL

Now, for the BEST part! We had the privilege of going behind the scenes at ACPL. And this is where the brevity comes in, because I only have an hour to get myself ready, get something to eat and make a beeline over to the Library to be there when it opens at 9!! Here goes:

We had a tour of the Genealogy Center. I've posted about it before; sadly, there's no time at this writing to find the right one. I'll try to edit the post tonight to include it so those who haven't been here can see it.

Then, we went down to the Lincoln Financial Foundation collection. What a remarkable collection of material from and about Abraham Lincoln. You can check out the website HERE.

We then got to see the area where they keep the three-dimensional objects from the collection along with rare book storage. Didn't take any pictures there because most of the material is on-line!! So awesome.

Next stop: genealogical material processing. ACPL is the rare Library where the Genealogical Collection material handling is completely separate from the rest of the Library. Check it out!

I love that the conveyor in the middle is used as a bit of a metaphor to keep material moving forward; to keep the process of working through the additions to the collections moving at all times. For me, this was the highlight of the tour. I'm not afraid to say that I genuinely wish that there was a facility like this closer to me. I would LOVE to work here!! But wait...there's more...

This lucky woman gets to scan material sent in by patrons. In this case, this is a bible from the mid-1700s from an attendee at FGS! How cool is that?! (Yes, at this point I was totally geeking out).

Internet Archives! That's right, this is the actual location where materials are scanned to be added to the Internet Archives website. They're a non-profit organization and they have a TON of material to scan, all so that genealogists and researchers alike can have access to the information contained in the materials they scan. Again, what a cool job.

So, that was my day yesterday. Or, at least the part at the Library, heh. 

I finished up my night enjoying the company of some great genea-friends and acquaintances: Susan Clark, Kathy Reed, Becky Wiseman, Amy Coffin, Lisa Alzo and several others at the FamilySearch Blogger's Dinner. The food was very good (I was late, *sigh*) and it was great to hear about all the incredible things that are happening at FamilySearch. Stay tuned for some big announcements!

I ended the day watching Who Do You Think You Are with an amazing group of Genea-buddies. Oh, and if you weren't on social media to see my tweets, Kathleen Brandt of A3 Genealogy was responsible for the research on the O'Donnell segment that included locating the sword at the Smithsonian. What an incredible job she did - amazing job.

That's all for now...I'm late...and clearly haven't truly learned brevity...LOL. 


  1. WOW!! What an incredible day you had - totally satisfying in so many ways, eh? Have a fabulous 2nd day... and more time with your geneafriends. Those of us at home are envious as we enjoy your experiences vicariously! Cheers.

  2. Thanks for the shout out! Know that there's a team of genealogists, archivists, historians and producers that make the show happens. But I have to admit, researching for the show was wonderful. I'm hoping all of us are creating wonderful stories based on our research.


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