L is for Library, Legacy, Links and Leaves #AtoZChallenge



Welcome to Day 12 of the  #AtoZChallenge.  Don't know what the AtoZChallenge is? Find out more here.

My theme is about Family History Societies.  What they are, How they work, Who is in them, Why they exist.

And which ones begin with L !

Societies beginning with L


(yes, I'm confused too)


I know not all Societies have a library as such or even if it is called a Library these days.  Often they are called Resource centres.  But they take so much to run don't they?  If you look at our Who Does What List at QFHS there are the following positions:
Library Assistants
Library Roster Coordinator
Library Assistant Induction
Library Supplies - Stationery, toner, servicing
Library Groceries
Library Services - water, power, cleaning, keys
Library Maintenance
Library Catalogue
and I've spoken in previous posts about Acquisitions, Cataloguers, IT, Donations etc.
Working in Libraries is so much more than just sitting around reading books. If only! 
I worked in the Library last Saturday.  It's very quiet at the moment cause we are coming out of lockdown but we still all need to wear masks in busy places so people are being a bit cautious about being out and about.  
Before we open the library we need to disinfect everything - that means wiping down all the keyboards, the mice, the desk surfaces, the chairs, the lightswitches, door handles, the locker keypads etc - that sure takes a while.And we're firing up computers, turning on lights and opening blinds at the same time - oh and sticking the sandwich board out on the street.  We need to check the phone for messages and check the diary for any notes from the day before. 
Once we were open, the phone started ringing.  Someone wanted to know what the Zoom link was for the Irish SIG meeting starting in 10 minutes.  Someone else wanted to know if we accepted donations of family history research; her mother, a member, died recently and she was tidying up her home. Someone else rang to ask about coming to the library and researching their family.  The membership coordinator rang to see if any new payments had been received so she could square off the books for the month with the Treasurer. Could I scan and email those payments through.  
A newish (well to me) member came in and was looking for inspiration to write about  the early years of her ancestor's arrival in Queensland. What sort of books did we think might help?  My colleague had to take payment from another member for photocopies.  
Library assistants need all sorts of skills: to know how to operate an EFTPOS machine, set up microfilm readers, help people get decent printouts from microfilm readers, coax the photocopier, navigate the catalogue, find the books on the shelf, narrow down or expand searches in databases, and generally think outside the square.  We might not know how to research Greek ancestry but we need to know who might know or what website or resource might be of help. 


What is the legacy that your Society is leaving to its community?
And have you made it easy for your members to give your Society a bequest in their will?


Don't forget to add handy links to your website to other organizations that you think your members might need to know about.
Most importantly are all your links working? Do you have someone who checks them regularly?
What links have you made in your local community? Which partnerships are important to you and why? Care to share?


It's Autumn in Australia now but I'm being a bit tricky here.  You may have figured out that the #AtoZChallenge is running a scavenger hunt for participants.  Every day they have to find a blog that features the item. Today it is leaves.  But I want to take a different meaning on this word for Societies particularly.  
One of the issues we have today is declining membership.  Why do members leave? Do you ask them?  Do you have an Exit interview as it were? Does someone take the time to send them a survey or give them a call to ask why they are not renewing their membership?  You might not like what you hear.  Maybe there is nothing you can do about their reason (e.g. they're leaving town or they've (shock ! horror!) "finished" their family tree.  But it would be a shame not to collect or be aware of any trends. Take that opportunity to engage with your membership and get some feedback. 

Thank you for taking the time to come by today and feel free to leave me a comment or remark below.


GeniAus said…
I have to add The Lake Macquarie Family History Group, a small local group with which I am involved, to your list.
Visit us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lmfhg (we have a private Members' Discussion Group on FB too)
Follow our blog: https://lakemacfhg.blogspot.com/
Check our Library Catalogue (a work in porgress): https://www.librarything.com/profile/lmfhg
and we have an older website too: https://www.lmfhg.org.au/
crgalvin said…
Legacy is an interesting idea, I’m not sure we have any way for folks to leave money in their wills. Our group does have a strong interest in the local area’s history and so is developing a Local History Index of resources collected in the area over the last 25 years. We are also considering how this can be extended to relevant articles in Trove by adding some Lists there.
Molly's Canopy said…
I love society libraries that will do onsite research for a fee after you contact them with specifics. This has been invaluable for non-digitized items that are stored in society libraries far from my home. As to why people leave societies, I wonder whether the genealogy community may be aging out and failing to recruit younger people to take up the torch. This is an issue in non-gen groups I belong to, and the most forward looking are making efforts to recruit younger members. https://mollyscanopy.com/2021/04/line-dancing-and-long-distance-friendships-atozchallenge/
Alex Daw said…
Dear Jill - thank you for reminding me about your group. Hooray! And hooray for Librarything and it's Librarycat. What would we do without it?

Dear Carmel - yes Legacy isn't an interesting one isn't it? We're a registered charity so it makes sense to have that as part of our information package. That Local History Index sounds invaluable. And yes, the Trove lists would be really good too.

Dear Molly - losing volunteers I reckon is our biggest challenge. Our VP sent through this link last night https://ausae.org.au/News/10235229 which I thought made some interesting points. I think lack of time is everyone's problem at the moment. So the volunteer experience has to be really worth it. We need to articulate the value of the volunteer experience more clearly and make sure it is as pleasant and painless as possible. That specific onsite research for a fee you mentioned is fabulous isn't it? We're thinking of doing something similar for our members via Zoom as we see less and less people willing to come into the library these days.

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