Hours Change at the Dallas Public Library

I just received the following notice from Carol Roark, the Manager of Special Collections (Texas/Dallas History, Genealogy and Fine Books) at the Dallas Public Library. They’ve had a change in hours. I note that the hours aren’t all that long any more. The last time I was in Dallas, I remember researching into the evening in the genealogy collection, and spending a fair amount of time visiting with Lloyd (who was an institution there). With unemployment now running at over 10%, there are many of us with the time to do genealogy, one of the very few upsides to being out-of-work. However, as I’ve blogged in the past, the facilities where we wish to research may not be open for us to do it…

As to the situation in Dallas – at least the library isn’t closing!

Effective October 1, 2009, the J. Erik Jonsson Central Dallas Public LibraryLibrary, the main library in the Dallas Public Library system, has new hours. These hours cover the Genealogy Section on the library’s eighth floor. New hours are:

  • Monday: closed
  • Tuesday: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Wednesday and Thursday: 12 p.m. (noon) to 6 p.m.
  • Friday and Saturday: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Sunday: 1 to 5 p.m.

For additional information, visit the Dallas Public Library’s website at http://dallaslibrary.org or call the Genealogy Section at 214.670.1433.

State Historical Society of Missouri Hours & Services Cut – Missouri History Speakers’ Bureau Discontinued

The following announcement has been posted by the State Historical Society of Missouri:

The State Historical Society of Missouri

Due to a 25 percent withholding in its fiscal year 2010 state appropriation, the State Historical Society of Missouri is decreasing its hours open to the public to Mondays through Thursdays, 8:00 a.m.-4:45 p.m., effective immediately. The Society will no longer be open for research on Fridays or Saturdays.

The withholding ($364,010), caused by the continued downturn in Missouri state revenues, was made public last Wednesday, October 28. The State Historical Society’s response to the withholding, determined by its board of trustees, was announced at the annual membership meeting in Columbia on Saturday, October 31.

To continue operations and implement the withholding, the Society’s twenty-two staff members have voluntarily taken a 20 percent pay reduction, and three staff positions have been eliminated. These positions included one unfilled position left temporarily vacant due to a 10 percent reduction in the Society’s FY2010 budget on July 1, 2009, one retirement, and one layoff.

The Society will seek private funds to continue its newspaper microfilming program and to print the award-winning Missouri Historical Review. The microfilming program annually preserves over 250 Missouri newspaper titles and adds these papers to the fine collection available for research at the State Historical Society. Missouri newspaper publishers, libraries, and local historical and genealogical societies also rely on purchasing these microfilmed papers for in-house use and to add to their research collections. The Missouri Historical Review is sent quarterly to over 4,800 members of the State Historical Society in Missouri and throughout the United States. Scholars, students, and the public use the journal for the study of the state’s history.

The popular Missouri History Speakers’ Bureau, which furnishes speakers to local civic, historical, and genealogical groups, will be discontinued. The State Historical Society has sponsored 34 Speakers’ Bureau presentations around the state since the beginning of the fiscal year on July 1. A MoHiP (Missouri History in Performance) Theatre production on the life and times of John William “Blind” Boone already scheduled for March 19, 2010, in Columbia will be held. Future performances by MoHiP, the State Historical Society’s reader’s theatre offering original productions based on historical characters and events, will not be scheduled.

“The reduced hours will have a significant impact on genealogists, students, and scholars who make use of the State Historical Society’s collections,” said Gary R. Kremer, the executive director. “And local organizations that have used scholars well-versed on a variety of historical topics will lose access to a much-needed source for speakers.”

The 25 percent withholding reduces the Society’s state funding to 65 percent of the FY2009 appropriation.

Massachusetts State Library May Close to Save $

The Massachusetts Governor’s Office announced at a press conference on Thursday, October 29 that Governor Patrick is considering closing the State Library of Massachusetts as a cost-saving measure.

Open to the public since 1826, the State Library has developed comprehensive collections in the areas of government documents, law, Massachusetts history, and public and current affairs. From the Bradford manuscript “Of Plimoth Plantation” to the ever-expanding digital repository, the State Library has collected items of crucial importance to the record of Massachusetts’ historical wealth.

A petition is being circulated. I urge my readers to sign this petition to ensure that Massachusetts’ heritage continues to remain freely accessible to all members of the public.

I note that a rally is being held in Boston today to protest the proposed cuts in library funding.

The Victoria (B.C.) Genealogical Society Loses Their $17,000 Annual Grant

The following teaser is from an article in the November 3, 2009 edition of the Victoria News, about the loss of a $17,000 annual grant by the Victoria Genealogical Society. It’s feared that their library may be in serious trouble without the cash…

Victoria Genealogical Society

And when a library closes, Heather Jones says everybody’s stories go with it.

Jones is a member of the Victoria Genealogical Society, the most recent casualty of the provincial government’s gaming cuts.

The society helps people understand B.C.’s social history through book, microfilm and electronic resources at its library in Vic West.

“The history of families is basically the history of the culture … because British Columbia is made up of people, and it’s their history that they bring to B.C. at the present time to make it a vibrant society,” said Jones.

The 31-year-old non-profit society recently found out its $17,000 grant will not be renewed next year, one of a number of non-profits across the province also getting the ax.

The trouble is, the society is locked into a three-year lease.

Society members and Victoria Coun. Pam Madoff will kick off the campaign to save the library Monday (Nov. 9), at 10 a.m. at 947 Alston St.

Read the full article.

Shortened Hours at the T. Elmer Cox Library

The recession continues to take it’s toll on genealogy research facilities. The hours at the popular T. Elmer Cox Historical and Genealogical Library in Greeneville, Tennessee have been shortened by almost half.

The T. Elmer Cox Historical and Genealogical Library, which has been temporarily closed since Oct. 12, plans to T Elmer Cox Library re-open on Wednesday, Oct. 28, but with dramatically reduced hours of operation.

The Historical and Genealogical Library, a branch of the Greeneville-Greene County Public Library, is located at 229 N. Main St.

The total number of operational hours per week for the Cox Library under the new schedule will be reduced to 20 from the previous 38, and the facility will be open four days a week instead of six, according to an announcement Wednesday by Don Miller.

The announced new schedule for the Cox Library will be:

  • Monday – closed (previously open 10 a.m.-6 p.m.)
  • Tuesday – closed (previously open 10 a.m.-5 p.m.)
  • Wednesday – 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (previously open 10 a.m.-5 p.m.)
  • Thursday – 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (previously open 10 a.m.-5 p.m.)
  • Friday – 1 to 5 p.m. (previously open 10 a.m.-4 p.m.)
  • Saturday – 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (previously open 10 a.m.-1 p.m.)
  • Sunday – closed (same as previous schedule)

Read the full article about the changes at the T. Elmer Cox Historical and Genealogical Library in the October 22, 2009 edition of the Greenville Sun.

Update on the Library of Michigan Petition

The following was received from the Federation of Genealogical Societies:

Within the genealogical community, the Library of Michigan has long been recognized as one of the premier state libraries in the country.

The cohesive Library of Michigan collection with over 180 years of Michigan history, literature and culture records and reflects the lives of not only those who remained to raise their families within the state but of millions more whose migration to other parts of the country left their footprints in the soil and records generated by their passage. Visitors come from all across the country to research at the Library of Michigan.

In addressing a $2 Billion deficit in the Michigan budget, Governor Jennifer M. Granholm issued an executive order in July which would abolish the Department of History, Arts and Libraries. As originally proposed, the collections of the Library of Michigan would be scattered and the building built and designed to house the state library would be renovated to house a new function.

In meetings held during the Federation of Genealogical Societies/Arkansas Genealogical Society Annual Conference in Little Rock this past week, the Records Preservation and Access Committee representatives have initiated a petition drive in support of the Library of Michigan. This is the first time we have exercised this option since 2006, something of an indicator of the seriousness with which the genealogical community views this situation.

The RPAC petition became available for signature on Sunday, the 6th of September. We will close the petition drive on the 1st of October, the date the governor’s order is scheduled to take effect. The earlier one signs, the greater the impact.

Although the prospects for reversing this action are remote, we would not want it to be said that a state library can be closed without its users caring (or for other governors to think it a politically expedient thing to do.)

Genealogists from within and without Michigan are encouraged to sign the online petition found at http://www.petitiononline.com/RPAC2009/petition.html . We then ask that you urge the members of every society of which you are a member to do likewise.

Additional background and the latest developments can be found at the web site of the Michigan Genealogical Council at: http://www.mimgc.org/LOM.html. They may also suggest legislators to whom individual letters might be addressed at appropriate points in the legislative process.

Hands Around the Library Rally Held at the Library of Michigan

Check out the article, pictures and video about the “Hands Around the Library” Rally at the Library of Michigan. I found the following paragraph enlightening:

Hands Around the Library

Unfortunately Governor Granholm was not in her office that day. While we were there trying to convince her to continue to spend the $2 million on the library, she was in Detroit with Vice President Joe Biden. They were discussing a plan to spend $1 Billion on battery technology. We know that she is getting the message that we were there. You can help the cause even more by making sure that she is getting the message.

It seems that the last election gave our politicians the idea that we all wanted change – and they are now on the rampage to make those changes before we figure out this this wasn’t the kind of change we voted for – or expected…

Read the article at GlobalGenealogy.com.

Thanks to Shirley Hodges for the links and heads-up on this.

Roger Moffat also took lots of pictures at the event and posted them on his blog, Roger’s Ramblings. Click here to see the photos.

Rally to be Held at the Library of Michigan August 5

As I have blogged before, the Library of Michigan is scheduled to “go away,” and supposedly save the state a lot of money… Genealogists aren’t taking this lying down – and a rally in support of the library is scheduled for August 5. See the following info. from Shirley Hodges.

Library of Michigan

If you live in Michigan or are within driving range please consider joining us in the Hands Around the Library Rally on August 5, 2009.

The Michigan Genealogical Council is coordinating a public assembly in Lansing to show our legislators and fellow citizens that we care about our state’s past.

On Wednesday, the 5th of August, let’s assemble at the State Capitol on the lawn. We have reserved the North and South lawns, and the steps. Time, 9:45 a.m. The State Senate goes into session at 10 a.m., the only time in the next few weeks we can be certain our legislators will be assembled at Lansing.

At 10:30 a.m., we will proceed/march over to the Michigan Historical Center and form our Hands Around the Library. Since the perimeter of the building is around 1800 feet, it is obvious we can use as many genealogists or friends of libraries/history of all types as possible. Flags and ribbons can be held between people as well as hands and arms.

Once we have formed our Hands Around The Library, we’ll hold that position for about 20 minutes, beginning at 11:00 a.m. — then off to lunch, researching in the Library of Michigan, or museum viewing for the afternoon!

Read Shirley’s article with more details at GlobalGenealogy.com.

See the Michigan Genealogical Council page dealing with the Library of Michigan issue.

Michigan Governor Eliminates the Michigan State Library

Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm has signed an executive order eliminating the Michigan Department of History, Arts Michigan Governor Executive Order 2009-36 and Libraries and thus cutting about $2 million in associated, annual costs from the 2010 budget. The order includes the following changes:

The Library of Michigan and state librarian will transfer to the Department of Education – eliminating the State Librarian job altogether. The Governor has proposed that the site of the 20 year old Library of Michigan be used for an innovative education and research center.

• The State archives, Michigan Historical Commission, the Mackinac Island State Park Commission and other programs will transfer to the Department of Natural Resources.

• The State Historic Preservation Review Board transfers to the Michigan State Housing Development Authority.

Click here to see the 26 page Executive Order No. 2009-36.

Read the July 14 Library Journal article about the cut.

This is the one of the biggest recession hits thus far for genealogists. The Library of Michigan is one of the most technologically advanced of all state libraries – and it’s tremendously important to genealogists. The state legislature has 60 days to approve or disapprove the executive order. If this library is to be saved, the congress folks will have to be convinced to find a way of saving it.

Thanks to Homer T. for the heads-up on this.

So Sad to See Sam Weller’s Bookstore Go…

Sam Weller's business card As I blogged a while back, venerable Sam Weller’s Bookstore in downtown Salt Lake City has announced that they will be closing the Main St. bookstore at some time in the near future – and moving to an undisclosed location where they can be more competitive the Barnes & Noble, Borders, and Amazon.com… Competition and the recession have taken their toll. I stopped by the store a few days ago and was told that the owners were at that moment in another meeting dealing with “the move.” While there, I picked up several old local histories – all at bargain prices.

The store is my favorite retail operation in all of the Wasatch Front. It’s an old-fashioned book store that covers many rooms on samwellers-front three floors – and just seems to go on and on… For many years, it had an unrivaled used genealogy and local history section. That section is pretty-much gone now, having been consolidated with LDS books on the lower level. However, the Rare Book Room is still thriving and is loaded with treasures.

The store has a lower level that’s loaded with “bargain books” as well as all kinds of materials specific to all kinds of categories. Geography, LDS books, art books, music-oriented books are a few that come to mind.

I got permission to shoot a few pictures in the store and post for my friends.


Sam Wellers interior

Sam Weller's-interior 2

Sam Weller's-interior 3

Sam Weller's-cafe

Sam Weller's-rare books

Sam Weller's-rare books 2

Sam Weller's-bargain books

Shall We Cut the Budget for the Genealogy Library?

Budgets are tight and cuts are being made. The genealogy library in Edgefield, South Carolina has come under the budget microscope. The following excerpt is from a much longer article on the county council meeting gives some idea of the tight cash situation cities are dealing with.

Edgefield SC

Edgefield, SC—Edgefield County employees may soon have to step up and pay for part of their health insurance. Edgefield County Council Chairman Monroe Kneece says their budget, like most every other county’s, requires cuts.

Monroe Kneece, Chairman, Edgefield County Council: “I’ve been there 22 years. This is the worst I’ve ever seen it.“

This is another point of contention: the county budget allots more than $17,000 to the Genealogy Library.

Councilman Kneece says hundreds of people a year use this facility; they stay downtown and spend money on gas and food.

Kneece: “So that’s a very slim investment to bring in that kind of money.“

Blackwell: “And I don’t necessarily disagree, but I do think we have to look out for the county’s operations first and foremost. That should be our priority.“

Despite the “healthy debates”, what they do agree on, is that the budget is tight…and in the end, something will have to be cut.

Read the full article in the April 29, 2009 edition of WJBF.com.

The Historical Collection of the Bridgeport Connecticut Library to Have Hours Cut to 3 days Per Week

BRIDGEPORT [Connecticut] — A tight budget is forcing one of the best-known departments of the bplibrary Bridgeport Public Library to be partially shelved.

After July 1, patrons of the library system’s main Burroughs and Saden Library will have only three days a week to use the Historical Collection.

The Library Board, under budgetary pressure, has pared the hours for the widely respected resource — from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, with extra hours possible by appointment. The department is currently open five days a week.

Read the full article in the April 17, 2009 edition of connpost.com.

Minnesota Historical Society to Cut Staff & Hours

According to reports, nearly half the Minnesota Historical Society staff might be laid off or see their hours mnhistoricalsocietycut this summer. State funding cuts of about $2.8 million in each of the next two years – along with what will most likely be a 2 million dollar per year drop in charitable giving, book sales and admissions revenue will motivate the cuts.

The following lay-off and cutback numbers could very well be what will happen, and it isn’t good for genealogy and local history.

• Forty site managers, curators and other full-time employees may join 54 part-timers possibly losing their jobs on July 1.

• An additional 223 employees may have their hours reduced, meaning 46 percent of the 683-member staff – 317 people – will be affected as the budget goes down 16 percent in the next two years.

• Three of the state’s 26 historic sites – Forestville near Preston, the North West Company Fur Post in Pine City and the Charles Lindbergh house in Little Falls – will close at the end of June, while Fort Snelling would be open five days a week instead of seven.

Note that this isn’t totally decided, but as of today, it’s not looking good.

Read more about it in the Minneapolis St. Paul Star Tribune.

Municipal Bonds Have a NEGATIVE Outlook According to Moody’s

The New York Times is reporting that Moody’s Investors Service has assigned a negative outlook to the creditworthiness of all local governments in the United States. Folks, this is first time this has ever happened.

Now what’s that got to do with genealogy? I believe that it may have a lot to do with our access to records – especially records kept on the local level. It’s also going to have an effect on your pocketbook, and mine – leaving us less to spend on our hobby.

With the stock market acting like a yo-yo, investments having been drifting toward Municipal Bonds, which have always been seen as quite secure. Now we hear that those bonds may not be so secure after all. Local governments are not taking in the tax money that they are used to. (Note that Federal Income Tax is now down 25%!). The potential downgrade in the bonds will mean that communities will pay a higher interest rate. That higher interest rate will be paid by you and I. Many, if not most, (how about all?) communities will be forced to do two things:

  • Increase Taxes
  • Reduce Services

Following is a teaser with more bad news from the April 7, 2009 edition of the New York Times:

Moody’s Investors Service assigned a negative outlook to the creditworthiness of all local governments in the United States, the agency said Tuesday, the first time it had ever issued such a blanket report on municipalities.

The report signaled how severely the economic downturn was affecting towns, counties and school districts across the nation.

While Moody’s regularly reports on the financial strength of various sectors of private industry, its analysts have in the past considered America’s tens of thousands of towns and local authorities too diverse for generalizations.

The report suggests that the ratings of many governments could be downgraded in the coming months, something that would make it more expensive for them to borrow money to finance their operations.

In former boom states like California and Florida, the sharp decline in housing prices is translating into falling property-tax revenue, while in towns in Michigan, Indiana and Ohio, revenues are off because of the collapse of the auto industry. Many local governments in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut will lose significant revenue because they rely on the banking and financial services sectors for their tax bases. Moody’s said any municipality relying heavily on tourism, gambling or manufacturing was probably at risk of feeling a pinch.

The report suggested conflicts ahead between taxpayers struggling to keep their own households afloat and elected officials charged with balancing budgets, making their payrolls and protecting their credit ratings.

Read the full article in the April 7, 2009 edition of the New York Times.