Genealogy from the perspective of a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon, LDS)

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

A Family History Mission: An Insiders' Tour of the Library of Congress

No. 77

Note: You can do a Google search for "A Family History Mission James Tanner" to see all the previous posts in this ongoing series. You can also search for "James Tanner genealogy" and find them or click back through all the posts.

During the past few months working at digitizing records from FamilySearch at the Maryland State Archives, we have had the opportunity to meet a lot of new people. This is especially true of those in the Spa Creek Branch (Spanish) of the Annapolis, Maryland Stake. One of the members we got to know turned out to work at the Library of Congress and he graciously invited my wife and me to a personally conducted tour. We jumped at the opportunity and traveled downtown to the Library.

We arrived just before 8:30 am when the Library opens to researchers. Both of us have Library of Congress Readers Cards and we had already done some limited research in the Genealogy section. We spent about an hour and a half walking through all parts of the Library including those pertaining to receiving and processing the book orders from researchers.

We learned that the supports for the bookshelves in the shelving areas of the Library are actually part of the structure of the Library. We heard about several movies that had scenes filmed in Library and a lot of information about the past and future changes to Library. One highlight of the tour was getting a look at the Congressional Reading Room.

Many of the areas we visited did not allow photography. One important thing we learned was that not all the books and other publications in the Library are yet in the online digital catalog. They still maintain the huge 3x5 card catalog for reference. We asked about the digitization being done and found out that many of the books are going on the Internet Archive or directly. This probably explains, in part, why the Internet Archive's digital book collection has been skyrocketing to over 17 million books and publications over the last couple of years. I will be writing more about the Library of Congress and the books that now on in the near future.

This turned out to be a great opportunity. 

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