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

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Genealogy and frying an egg on the sidewalk

When I was growing up in the Phoenix, Arizona, one of the things I heard about was the fact that it was so hot, "you could cook an egg on the sidewalk." One day, in the middle of the summer, I went outside and tried this. I can't really say I was very successful, and I certainly did not feel like eating the egg, but I have measured temperatures on the sidewalks of over 150 degrees fahrenheit. A closed area, such as a car with the windows closed can quickly exceed this temperature. See "Phoenix Fire Department: Cars heat up fast in summer."
The Phoenix Fire Department urges people to use extreme caution during the Valley summer's extreme heat. 
When temperatures outside reach 100 degrees, the temperature inside a car can reach 138 degrees in five minutes and 150 in 15, even with a window partially open. Having the windows down even 1 inch causes only a slight temperature drop. 
Read more:
Now, what has this got to do with genealogy? Back at the end of November, 2014, the Mesa FamilySearch Library was closed for remodeling. About this same time, I had finished moving out of state to Provo, Utah. Unfortunately, I have lost my close contact of over ten years, with the Mesa FamilySearch Library. In January, 2015, the Library's Newsletter stated:
As you may know, we are in the process of a total remodeling of the first floor of the Library with some minor changes on the second floor. We closed the Library on the 24th of November with plans to reopen on the 5th of January, 2015. We have had some major complications that will delay our opening date. We are not certain at this time, but anticipate opening in late February. If you will call 480-964-1200, our Library phone number, we will include the new opening date in our message as soon as we have a firm date. We will also post it on the entry door of the Library as soon as we have the date.
The telephone message, now in April of 2015, still says to watch for the reopening date "in the near future."

Now, this is my concern. When I last visited the library at the end of December, 2015, there were several large metal storage containers in the parking lot. I understood that these containers housed the entire collection of books and microfilm of the library. I have heard, from friends, that the microfilm portion of the storage has been moved back into the uncompleted building, but that the rest of items are still in the metal storage boxes. Since it is now April in Mesa, the temperatures are already well into the 90s. Very soon, they will have temperatures outside over 100 degrees. I have become concerned about the contents of those metal boxes. Can the contents survive temperatures over 150 degrees, because that is what is going to happen very shortly?

I am completely unaware of the circumstances delaying the completion of the remodeling effort and the reopening of the Library. But whatever the reasons may be, I would think it advisable to take care of the books and other records stored in those metal containers before they are damaged by the heat. Just my opinion, which I have been known to express on occasion.


  1. Jim:
    I certainly have similar concerns. I have several thoughts on this - which I shall not share here. But, suffice to say they are not very communicative about why the renovation is taking such a long time. They suggested an April opening when they postponed January's opening. April is nearly over and they have been completely silent. As far as I can tell there is no way to directly contact them. They have not updated their FaceBook page since January.

    The biggest rub, as far as I am concerned, is that as the FamilySearch Library digitizes and moves away from microfilm, they seem to be leaving the small church-based history centers with no usable microfilm readers/scanners. I called the small history center I used to frequent in Phoenix to see if I would be able to look at microfilm and scan images to my thumb drive. They told me that their old scanner/computer broke and they cannot get the parts needed. I called several other centers in the Valley and was told they do not have the ability to scan microfilm images.

    I understand that some surprises made for the unplanned lengthier renovation project. But, I would have hoped that the Mesa FamilySearch Library would have worked with some of the smaller facilities to provide customer service during this long wait.

    1. Actually, each of the Family History Centers are separately operated and administered. It is not surprising that they do not cooperate with one another. I certainly understand your frustration.