“Just a reminder…we need librarians and archivsts in these tumultuous times…”

“This is just a reminder that a lot of what we do as genealogists and historians is founded upon the availability of records in our respective states, counties, and cities.  We need archivists to preserve, secure, organize, describe, retrieve, and digitize original records, and to provide research advice. 

We need librarians to buy all those genealogical abstracts that we don’t wish to or cannot afford to purchase for ourselves, collect and file resources, consult with us about research strategies, supply and teach some of the skills we lack, and find and/or obtain records from distant places through interlibrary loan. 

In these tumultuous economic times, library departments (especially those with a historical focus) and archives are often in the front-line to go on the budgetary chopping block.  And it is largely because the folks who are so interested in using their resources simply aren’t aware of the threat or are uncertain about how to respond. 

 The answer is simple.  Make it a point to be in the know about cuts that your local and state governments are contemplating.  When you hear that the resources you use are under threat, make a noise about it!  Work through your local genealogical society.  Plan a trip to the decision making body to meet with administrators and legislators.  Make statements at public hearings.  Speak to the press.  Yes, we all have to trim down a bit, but make sure that the services you depend upon don’t sustain a disproportionate share of the cuts because you failed to speak up.”  Randolph County NC Genealogical Journal ( Winter 2009) page 2.

This blog can be a venue for record preservation alerts–if you need or want the space.  My readers come from all over the country and outside the United States too.  And while my blog audience is still small compared to others in genealogy, readers are often vocal on what they are passionate about.

Genealogy interest is up about 22% over last year.  Attendance at genealogy events is up about 36% over last year.  Genealogy presence on social media–Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and others is up more than 700% over last year.   And presentation of online genealogy images as well as indexes leading to them is off the charts in 2010.  Even so, all this activity is a drop in a very large bucket, in 2010.  We cannot afford to handicap or cripple our access to  genealogy information.  Your favorite Virginia genealogist, Arlene Eakle.  http://arleneeakle.com

PS  An eager group of genealogists is gathering at the Family History Library, in a very snowy  Christmas-oriented Salt Lake City UT.  Leland and Patty Meitzlers’ Salt Lake Christmas Tour begins on Sunday afternoon and continues all week, until 12 Dec.  We will have access to several shelves of new books–especially for Virginia and Tennesee research!  What an exciting event it is for me–to see and to help attendees find their documentation.  Real and tangible documents to back-up lineages. 

PPS  And by special request, Linda Brinkerhoff and I will speak on Southern genealogy research sources and strategies.  We have some new examples of how to solve specific research problems using records not currently reviewed by researchers who depend on internet resources.  Very exciting stuff!  Gentle readers, don’t be too concerned if you are not registered for this cool event in 2010–this Virginia blog will share some key Southern records–and where to access them–during the week, as I blog live from the Family History Library new all-glass consultants’ booth on the 3rd floor.  It was constructed earlier this year to house us and the noise we create talking all day, and part of the evening, with attendees of the Salt Lake Christmas Tour!

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