The mammoth Family History Library in Salt Lake City closed its doors in March 2020 because of COVID. According to this news release from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, they’ve been spending time while they’re closed improving online services, which is a real boon for genealogists.
They’ve launched a new website for the Family History Library (which is part of FamilySearch.org) that will provide “new online patron experiences and up-to-date information on the library’s services and activities,” according to the press release.
One thing that exited me was the availability of free 20-minute research consultations. According to the website, in those consultations “We can help with evidence analysis or translation of key words, or we can help identify a good next step. The goal is to empower you in your research journey.” The sessions are offered in English, Spanish, Chinese and American Sign Language. Detailed information is available here.
It’s important to note that the researchers are not physically at the library (due to COVID) so may not have access to resources that you don’t have already have access to. But their expertise and knowledge of the collection is bound to be helpful. Doesn’t being empowered by professional researchers sound great?
Another exciting development is the new Online Learning Center, which is making hundreds of previously recorded how-to webinars available on demand, all free of charge. When I clicked on the Learning Center link at the new website, just a few popular lessons were listed on the resulting page. As a test, I searched for Civil War and got a listing of 120 available lessons. I haven’t taken any of these lessons, but I look forward to exploring what’s available and taking some to expand my knowledge this way.
The news release says that while the library is closed during the pandemic, improvements are being made to improve visitor access to materials and services. That’s fantastic. I’ve had the opportunity to research there several times and I look forward to visiting the new, improved Family History Library. In the meantime, I’m delighted about the enhanced online access to learning.