Are you a Genealogy Librarian?


What is the definition of a genealogy librarian?

  • passionate about history
  • likes to hear family stories
  • is curious to know why and how people emigrated to their community
  • is a people person
  • eager to find the most obscure information in the most unusual places

A genealogy librarian can be:

  • a volunteer in a family history society
  • a paid member of staff in a public, university, or a special library
    • sometimes not hired as a ‘genealogy librarian’ but has another job title
  • a genealogy enthusiast who loves to organize information
  • someone who knows that very special subject file that tells all about their community

If you are any of these personality types, might I encourage you to post your comments and perhaps considering writing a guest article for this blog about why you love to work as a ‘genealogy librarian’.

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Genealogists love Libraries!

But do Libraries Love Genealogists? I follow a few genealogists on Twitter and they are very supportive of libraries and librarians. Just check out these tweeters and their intuitive blog posts:


© Penny Allen

Amy Johnson Crow – Ohio U.S.A. – @Amy JohnsonCrow

3 Things to Ask a Genealogy Librarian – one question is ‘Can You Help Me?’ – did you know your patrons hesitate to ask for help because they ‘don’t want to bother you’?

6 Ways to have a better library visit – included are tips such as make a plan and check the catalogue before you go, but my favourite: ask for local advice.

Why Yes I am a Librarian – a humourous piece about explaining what a librarian does all day and includes a favourite quote from the movie, The Mummy.

Also on Amy Johnson Crow’s blog: Library Websites for Genealogy
– highlighting not only the large genealogy libraries, but
small local libraries where the hidden gems reside
‘Libraries of all sizes are giving us easier access to the materials in their collections.’

Gail Dever – Montreal, Quebec –    @geneaalacarte

Library’s genealogy research guides list good suggestions of books and periodicals – Gail reviews Toronto Public Library’s research guides
Savoir faire — Matane genealogy society’s agreement provides free access to college library – this agreement is with the Bibliothèque Lucien-Lelièvre du Cégep de Matane.

Montreal-area library launches free access to Genealogy Quebec — National Genealogy Week – Gail highlights the Dollard-des-Ormeaux Library which is now offering access to Genealogy Quebec. In her post, she reminds genealogists to get in touch with societies and libraries in your area to enquire about their online resources.

Kathryn Lake Hogan – Ontario, Canada – @look4ancestors

Are you going local with your research – Kathryn mentions that many archives and libraries have research guides – which we do! – and to remind the genealogist to ‘read ahead’ and also to ‘have fun’!

John D. Reid – Ontario, Canada

Best Public Library for Genealogy – published in 2007 – criteria used : (1) genealogy services available on the website (visibility) (2) relevant genealogy books (3) electronic resources for genealogists, ie: Ancestry, Globe and Mail, Times Newspaper (London).  Perhaps it is time for an update as many websites have been redesigned and genealogy services are now even harder to find. Eg: Calgary Public Library
Genealogists Use of Libraries – published in 2012 – used a poll questionnaire to ask how often Genealogists use libraries.
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A visit with Canadian Genealogy Librarians


2008 IFLA Genloc Conference Ottawa Ontario Janet on the left, me on right

For many years, I have been ‘doing’ genealogy and about 15 years ago, I made a career change to librarianship. I took my librarian course at Leeds in the U.K. as it was a challenge to do something out of the ordinary. My dissertation title : “A comparison of the use of OPACs by Local Studies Researchers in the U.K. and Canada“.

Of course I was keen to incorporate library services for genealogists into my every day work, and I can say that at 3 places out of 5 I have been able to take on some improvements to their genealogy programs.

Since that time, I have had the pleasure to meet and work with one or two of the librarians highlighted here either online or in person. They all have an interest in genealogy and/or are working in genealogy services.

Ottawa LAC

Librarians @ Association of Professional Genealogists – In this list I counted almost 100, most of whom are located in the United States. There are a few listed as Canadian Librarians and these are:

Aitken, Barbara – Tracing Your Roots in Ontario – Kingston, Ontario –

Iles, Janet – Janet Iles Consulting & Research Services – Owen Sound, Ontario – her blog –

Mulherin, Francine – Mulherin Genealogy Services – DSL Drummond, NB –

Meehan, Lyn  – Meehan Professional Research – Edmonton, AB –

Librarians I have bumped into over the years
(who may at one time been involved in Genealogy Services):

Christine Hayes – Christine is ‎Information Specialist and works at Calgary Public Library in the Genealogy and Local History department, and has been a big supporter. She writes the coolest blog articles on local history and genealogy! She is keen on genealogy and also volunteers with the Alberta Family History Society in Calgary.

Elise Cole – Librarian at Oakville Ontario and was also on the Social Media team for the 2017 Ontario Genealogical Society Conference   Elise also authored Librarians Helping Canadian Genealogists

Janet Tomkins at Vancouver Public Library – Janet and I worked together on an IFLA GenLoc (genealogy) conference that was held in Ottawa Ontario in 2008. I don’t think she works in genealogy services now, but is still at VPL.

Kam Teo – Kam was one of our earliest supporters and still is enthusiastic about Genealogy in libraries – last time I checked! He lives and works in Weyburn Saskatchewan.

Laurie J. Cooke – works at the Cloverdale Public Library in Surrey, B.C. I believe she is now working in a different department. Check out their awesome provincial genealogy guides!

May P. Chan – May and I set up this blog in 2011 to support the Canadian Genealogy Librarians via the Canadian Library Association. She is now working in government libraries but still lives in Regina Saskatchewan.

Romaine Honey – Librarian, Ottawa Public Library – I recently introduced myself via email to Romaine as I saw an interview with her conducted by Grandma’s Genes at the Ontario Genealogical Society Conference in June 2017. Hope we can work together in some way soon!

Warren James – Prairie History Librarian – Regina Public Library. Wayne is a librarian who is keen to promote the services of the library and especially the local history collection.

If you get a chance, do send a little HI! their way!

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Family History Librarians Twitter Chat

In my opinion, the Twitter UKlibchat on 6th Dec was a resounding success! I partnered up with Gaby from @UKlibchat team to present an opportunity to genealogy librarians to discuss their services to genealogists. See the article on the UKlibchat page: Feature Post 40: Answering Family History Enquiries 101.

A couple of the questions that were posted:

  1. Does your library have a specialist in this area? If not, who answers these kinds of enquiries?
  2. If you don’t have a specialist, How does your organisation ensure they support users properly? Is there training or other support?
  3. Do you have a special collection? How do you promote your collection?

Some of the international attendees are highlighted here:

@GabyK_lib – our illustrious leader and RTr!

 – Anne Sharp – a former local studies librarian – NE England

@cdnlocgen – Penny Allen – a librarian, Canadian, now working in London

@DarrenLEdwards – Librarian – Interested in promoting games in libraries as informal educational tools. Bournemouth, UK

@ellenforsyth – librarian, New South Wales

@GinaMurrell1 from Oregon, U.S. – Oregon Digital Newspaper Program

 – Lydia Craemer – a law librarian from Johannesburg South Africa

 – Librarian – A historic and contemporary collection on the Gold Coast

@LibraryBod – Phil Segall – wandering librarian – London – Librarian @RCNLibraries

 – ITS researcher at the Wiener Library

@mazzaburgess – Cambridge

@mennolibrarian – Public library assistant, MLIS graduate

@montserratlj – law librarian

@NWArchivists – this group was mentioned in the chat – PacificNorthWest professional archivist association – U.S.

@PaulaGoodale – Leeds, Sheffield

@Poetryghost – youth librarian

@snoopmarsh82 – Neil Marshall, Librarian, LIS student – Burley, Lancashire

  – Glucksman Library – Limerick, Ireland

 – Study of the Holocaust and Genocide – their ITS researcher, Mary attended the chat

@wjbfarrell – William Farrell – Research information @UofLDWL. Editorial board @LocalPopStudies – Leicester

 – this group was mentioned in the chat – Society of American Archivists’ Women Archivists Roundtable – U.S.

A question regarding whether there is an Australian ‘libchat’ for local studies provided two hashtags : and

Be sure to stay tuned!
TBA: Look for the summary of this chat on the UKlibchat wordpress site….

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Younger than me – Generation Y and Z Genealogists

It’s a common myth that young people are not interested in their ancestors. Well, it’s official. It Is A Myth.

With our children’s children growing up with a smart phone in their hands 24×7, their world is – online. And they are interested in their family’s history. The easier it is for them to do genealogy on a mobile device, aka phone or tablet, the more they will be interested. This means that those who are developing these tools need to keep the youngsters in mind. Especially young genealogists.

Here’s a few of the pretty cool younger genealogy bloggers out there: Who are they? Who do they reach out to? Heather, from Maryland and Catie from Australia. Their target audience are particularly the under-30s. They’re also on Twitter @YSGenealogists The Next Gen Genealogy Network – one of their blog posts is fabulous (but don’t forget to look at the others, they are just as fab!) – Young Genealogists and Your Society, 7 Steps. Great suggestions for how to best work with the next generation of genealogists! A group of young genealogists with many types of family history interests. Posts quite regularly. Twitter : @NextGenNetwrk – touching Happy Mother’s Day story @GenealogistElys her last post was August 2015 but I’m sure we’ll see more of her great stories. Kathleen Scarlett O’Hara Naylor  @oftreesandink  Heather Collins – her handle says : ‘I’m a young and savvy genealogist, which means I like to sleep, and never do.’

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BC – Librarian job – includes local history collections

Library Jobs pic

Librarian 1 – Public Services Squamish , BC
Closing Date: December 18, 2016 or until filled

Job Purpose – This position has responsibilities in the area of collection development, library instruction, outreach programming, library administration, provision of information services, and reference.

Duties and Responsibilities:

Reference and library instruction – Provides value-added reference and information services, at the information desk, electronically, and via Book a Librarian.   Trains library users and staff in the use of information resources, including the library’s databases and downloadable eResources.   Troubleshoots technology, including library equipment and patron devices, and provides support to public computer users with printing, downloading etc.   Performs readers’ advisory, both in person, and through the creation of book lists, displays, etc.  Supports the circulation desk by registering new members and assisting with circulation, as necessary

Collection maintenance – Maintains the library’s non-fiction, reference, and local history collections. Troubleshoots problems with the library’s catalogue and other online resources, and communicates solutions or workarounds to staff as necessary

Library promotion–  Plans and facilitates select in-house and outreach programming, including technology training, local history talks, open houses, and other select initiatives, as approved by the Director , Participates in the library’s social media committee and user experience team.

Participates in associations such as the Squamish Chamber of Commerce and the Heritage Groups Meet-up, and other partnership organizations, as assigned.

Applications to:
Hilary Bloom, Director of Library Services, Squamish Public Library

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Local Studies / Archives jobs

Library Jobs pic

Manager, Library and Archives
Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity

Closes: 16 Oct 2016

Reference Librarian
New Brunswick Public Library Service – York Region
Fredericton , NB

Closes: 4 Nov 2016

As a member of the library team, the Reference Librarian participates in the development, provision, and evaluation of reference service in the library and in the region.The successful candidate will provide complex level reference service through traditional and electronic resources; participate in the provincial Online Reference Service; assist other libraries in the region in providing reference service; provide reader’s advisory service; ensure the maintenance of reference area equipment; participate in the development of bibliographic instruction and training resources; prepare special exhibits to promote collections; conduct library tours and orient patrons on the use of the library; maintain positive relations with community organizations; promote reference service in the community; prepare book reviews and bibliographies; oversee the collection of reference statistics; conduct research and write reports; conduct indexing and preservation projects with special attention to local and family history collections;

Please submit your application (letter and up to date curriculum vitae) by e-mail, mail or fax to the attention of the Administrative Assistant at the address indicated below.

Postal Address:
Administrative Assistant
York Regional Office
570, Two Nations Crossing, Suite, 1
Fredericton, NB
E3A 0X9
Fax: (506) 457-4878



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Local History Publication & e-Publication Awards – nominations open now — Local Studies Group Blog

This is an award for recognition of all of your hard work, innovation and persistence! Especially for Local History societies, libraries, organisations.

It is that time of year again when the CILIP Local Studies Group start calling for submissions for the Alan Ball Award for Local History publishing. Once again there are categories for the best printed and the best digital publications released, this time published in 2015 and the first half of 2016. Last year, we judged entries for 2013 […]

via Local History Publication & e-Publication Awards – nominations open now — Local Studies Group Blog

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