Preparing for Your Library Research Trip

Preparing for Your Library Research Trip

Preparing for any library visit is just as important as the research that is done there. Adequate preparation will ensure that researchers make the most of their research time and of the facility’s sources. There are several things genealogists can do to fully prepare for a library trip.

Learn about the library’s collection before you arrive.
Many libraries have made their catalog available via the Internet, either in a Web-based format or through the use of Telnet. Searching the library’s card catalog before you go can allow you to have a listing of books, bibliographic information, and call numbers with you when you enter the door. And there’s no fighting over catalog drawers or terminal space.

If you cannot remotely access the card catalog, write to the facility and see if any research guides or pamphlets are available. Even a general summary will provide some direction. A Web page for the library may also provide similar information. Is there an Internet listserve for the county or state in which the library is located? Posting a question to an appropriate listserve about the library may allow you to learn more about its collection and research policies from users of the facility. This is also a great way to learn things that pamphlets and Web sites don’t tell you.

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