Sunday, 13 November 2011

Family history and genealogy society library survey results

Thanks to the 75 people who came to the survey opened up a couple of weeks ago. With the caveat that there's no way the survey is scientific or representative of anything but the views of those responding, here are the results.

90% of respondents belong to a society that has a physical library.

40% had used it during the past month, and a further 8% within three months. That's much greater usage than observed at the Ottawa City Archives, which hosts the OGS Ottawa Branch and BIFHSGO libraries.

More than twice as many respondents had access to a library that is strictly for reference than those with access to a library which lend materials.

More than twice as many people viewed the physical library as an important service offered by the society, twice as many as saw it as of marginal benefit.

11 of 14 (78%) of respondents who had access to a virtual (online) society library answered they had used it during the past three months. That compares to 48% for the physical library.

 The comments left were:

1 I have used a family history library often in the past but less so now I'm doing more overseas research with my own references.

2 I wish they were open for longer hours. I would gladly pay a small fee/per use if the Society publications were digitized & available online.

3 The library is under-utilized and I believe a campaign to publicize it would be helpful.

4 Our society donated its collection to our county library HQ which has an extensive facility. the county library also has a large collection from the National Gen. Society.

5 The OGS virtual library is under construction.

6 Our library at city archives is most valuable and substantial. Jim L

7 The on-line information is limited but still very useful for research about the area.

8 If the society had a home it might built a library, it meets at a public building. Like the idea of a virtual library.

9 Wish I had more time to browse the collection!

10 Distance and time to get there are factors in not using a physical library.

11 We are fortunate our OGS branch library is housed within our public library. Our holdings are catalogued along with the pub. lib. holdings. Our books are accessible to the general public all the hours the library is open. In exchange, library committee branch members are required to reshelve books in this room. It's a wonderful branch library!

12 I have just relocated from Montreal to Vancouver and will retain my QFHS membership and also join the BCGS next week. I fully expect to use their library too.

13 Victoria Genealogical Society in Victoria BC has a marvelous Resource Centre. Check it out at

14 Virtual library to me means full text of books, journals and while there is some of that for OGS and BIFHSGO I am saying that it doesn't fit my definition. Getting volunteers to run the libraries is the challenge. I currently volunteer and there have also been few genealogy clients to serve. I'm beginning to think that there is less benefit than I used to.

15 Brilliant, but more digitisation would be good, especially when it comes to national libraries as, for example, the society of genealogists is based 3 hours away and not open on days I can visit!

16 Some of the books the QFHS has are old enough and rare enough that I consider it a great advantage to have "free" access to them.

1 comment:

Mike More said...

Interesting that several wanted the libraries to be digitized but few volunteered to help do it. One even offered to pay a SMALL amount; I wonder how much they would sponsor to digitize commercially since they did not volunteer to help.