Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Changes at the Family History Library - More than Decorative

I got a post from FamilySearch entitled, "Exciting New Changes at the Family History Library." The changes are summarized as follows:
In an effort to beautify the Library and to enhance guest services and research specialist interactions, the reference desks on the B1, B2, and 2nd floors are being removed and new consultation areas are being placed on each floor. For example, the B1 International floor has separate reference areas for European, Nordic, and Latin American help integrated into the guest areas of the floor. A comfortable welcome area resides where the old reference desks used to be. The remodel will be complete by November 2014.
I am not sure that showing the Library completely empty gives you an idea about how this new set-up is going to work. Every time I have been there the last couple of months, I have found all of the areas to be crowded. I am not sure that having a couple of chairs and couch is going to be adequate for the people who need help. I am aware that they have cut their permanent, employed staff and transitioned to more volunteer consultants. I am guessing the next change is related to this reduction in employees:
New Service Model—In addition to the new reference areas, we have also implemented a new guest services model. To help guests get the assistance they need without waiting in lines, we have added a guest paging system. Volunteers are still available on each floor to help with questions, though when additional expertise is needed, guests can sign up for a consultation with a specialist during daytime hours Monday–Friday. To sign up, the guest can visit with a scheduler who will give them a restaurant style pager. The guest can then continue their research anywhere in the Library. Once paged, the guest returns to the welcome area of the floor where they will be greeted by a research specialist. The paging system is in use for B1 and B2, and will be available on the 2nd floor once the construction is complete.
This change comes complete with a "restaurant style" pager:

I am not quite sure what I am supposed to do if my question concerns the research I am supposed to be doing anywhere in the library. At some of the popular restaurants with pagers, I am always concerned about wandering off on the chance that I get out of range of the pager. Am I supposed to leave all my research papers, computer etc. somewhere in the library while I go back to the place to meet the consultant?

The next changes are interesting. they include the Family Story Booths on the main floor and a children's area. I was recently in the Library for a couple of days and stayed near both booths and the children's play area. I did not see either of the booths used or any children in the play area. From my two-day experience, I wonder if they are being used?

Interesting changes, I will be in the Library all week, October 27th through the 31st. I will give you all some more opinions about the changes after my week in the Library.


  1. Mr. Tanner:
    Hypothetis: It's like going to see a dentist about a cavity. The "dentist" is a retired school teacher volunteer who puts on a dentist's lab coat, does not deaden pain, does not sanitize instruments, and proceeds to drill your tooth with a COMPUTER. Just sayin'

    1. Anonymous: Am I to assume you work at the Family History Library?

    2. Au contraire. I do not work at the Family History Library. A question: does using the mother's beautician tools make the child a beautician? Just askin'.

  2. James,

    I want to let you know that your blog post is listed in today's Fab Finds post at

    Have a great weekend!