A Visit to the FamilySearch Library in Salt Lake City, Utah
Numbers do not begin to do service to the experience of visiting the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah for genealogical research. The various collections include over 2.4 million rolls of microfilmed genealogical records; 727,000 microfiche; 356,000 books, serials, and other formats; over 4,500 periodicals and 3,725 electronic resources.
But it is only when you walk into the Library and see the huge stacks of microfilm cabinets stretching off into the distance on every floor, that you begin to understand what 2.4 million rolls of microfilm really mean. Many of the rolls of microfilm are being digitized and made available through FamilySearch.org on the Internet, but until that project is complete, a visit to the Library is an extremely good way to gain access to all of the rolls of microfilm at one time. You could order the microfilm copies for use in a local FamilySearch Center, but at $8.50 for each rented roll, it would not take much research to pay for a trip to Salt Lake City, Utah.
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The week of April 7-11, 2014 Family History Expos will gather with a group of researchers for a week-long research activity. Those going to the Library for the first time will have a unique experience, one that will be long remembered. Many hundreds of visitors every day fill many of the computer terminals and research carrells and tables around the Library. In addition to the staff of Family History Expos, there are about 700 trained volunteers and 100 full-time and part-time professional staff to assist with research questions. There is also a full schedule of classes on specific research areas and general genealogical subjects.
The Family History Library began with a small collection of books in 1894 and over the years, with several moves to different locations, the Library has evolved into the present impressive facility dedicated entirely to helping people find their ancestors. Salt Lake City, Utah, the home of the Library, is in North-Central Utah along the western edge of the Wasatch Mountains. The Library is located right in the middle of downtown Salt Lake City, surrounded by a newly rebuilt and vibrant cityscape. There are hotels, restaurants and many local attractions within walking distance of the Library or by the free downtown light-rail train that stops less than half a block from the entrance.
Salt Lake City is the center of a vibrant research community with major universities only minutes from the downtown area. There are three other major FamilySearch Libraries within an hour’s drive of the Library in Ogden, Riverton and Provo, Utah.
Before going to the Library, you may wish to read some of the suggestions in the online FamilySearch.org page entitled “How to Prepare to Visit the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.” You may also wish to review the Library rules before you arrive. Advance preparation for your trip to the Library is important. Not only do you need to be prepared to stay in Salt Lake City, but you should also go to the Library with some clear research objectives and a plan for your research. The Library will be ready for your visit. The Library’s patron resources include the following:
- Over 500 patron computers
- Over 300 microfilm readers
- 36 microfiche readers
- 27 digital microfilm and microfiche copiers
- 3 HD book scanners
- 14 book copiers
- Seating capacity for 375 at tables
- Orientation and research classes
Here are some links to valuable articles about a visit to the Library:
- Video Tour: Family History Library — recorded by Geni.com staff (February 2010)
- Another Item Crossed Off My Bucket List, or Is It? – by Jill Ball (visited in February 2010)
- Visiting the SLC: Days 1 & 2 of posts by Randy Seaver (visited in Jan 2009)
- How to Prepare to Visit the Family History Library
- Request A Vault Film before Visiting the Family History Library
- What Gives With FamilySearch? The Rest of the Story (Sep 2011) – Valerie provides an in-depth blog post about the volunteers in the FHL.
- Salt Lake City Library: Ready, Set Go! – by Lorine McGinnis Schulze
- A Fresh Look at the Family History Library – A Library without Walls – by Alan E. Mann, Manager at FamilySearch, presented at NGS 2010 Conference
When you visit the Family History Library at a Retreat with Family History Expos this is the kind of experience you can expect:
What a great retreat! Thank you for putting this together. It was a marvelous experience. One of the greatest strengths is the availability of the professionals as well as the diversity of same. Keep up the good work! C Dorsey, Colorado
First and foremost, thank you for a wonderful exposure to the many facets of genealogy. I really felt emersed in the many activities that took place. I’m hoping to be able to attend another conference “down the road.” R Kennerly, Illinois
I had the opportunity to go to the week-long Family History’s Salt Lake Retreat this past week. It was the most awesome experience! There was one-on-one help with the top genealogy researchers at the LDS Family History Library; for a genealogist, it was a dream come true. Holly and the researchers are so knowlegeable and have so much information, and they can answer any question about where to look to break down your brick wall. It was amazing what they know and the help and advice they gave was priceless. It is one retreat that is truly worthwhile for all levels of genealogists. G Johnson, Utah