Today I attended the first day of the Texas State Genealogical Society annual conference, being held this year at the Riley Center in southwest Fort Worth. That's about as far from my home as my workplace is, so this was an easy drive for me.
I attended the (free!) librarians track, which opened with Curt Witcher, manager of The Genealogy Center of the Allen County (Indiana) Public Library (and also curator of the Rare and Fine Book Collection and their institutional archives) speaking on "The Best of Times - For Genealogists and Their Librarians." Three takeaways from his talk: 1) check out WeRelate.org, a "virtual vertical file" wiki, 2) contribute your expertise on local area history and genealogical research to the FamilySearch wiki, and 3) do at least two technology training programs at your library (I think he said per month).
Next was Sue Kaufman, current TSGS president and Manger of the Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research of the Houston Public Library, whose talk was titled "Give 'Em What They Want: Collection Development and Partnerships." Regarding collection development, Sue said we don't have to have it all, but we need to know where to get it when our patrons need it. Sue has also come up with some interesting (and successful) partnerships, including a clever one with the local animal shelter that ties animal pedigrees and human pedigrees (get it?).
I ate lunch with my practicum supervisor in library school, Kathleen Strauss, manager of the Special Collections Department of the Denton Public Library. Afterwards, Sharon Perry Martin, former manager of the Dallas Public Library's awesome genealogy and Texas/Dallas history collections (she is now director of the University Park Public Library in Texas), described Dallas' unique collections and some of their organizational issues in "Is It Genealogy or is it History? It's both!" I could relate to this with the collections I manage.
Finally, Bill Buckner, manager of the Genealogy Center of the Waco-McLennan County Library, gave a very helpful talk called "Coping with the Ancestrally Challenged - Providing Service to Family History Researchers," with useful handouts and many tips.
There was also a (free) genealogy society leadership track today, as well as a morning and afternoon session on "Getting More from FamilySearch.org," ALSO FREE! The latter will be repeated tomorrow (again, a morning session and an afternoon session, same thing in both), as well as a FREE "Getting Started" track tomorrow for beginning family researchers. The latter will continue on Saturday.
It's also not too late to attend the paid sessions of the conference - walk-ins are welcome! It's $45 per day or $75 for both days. I'm looking forward to the sessions I'm planning to attend tomorrow.
© Amanda Pape - 2012 - click here to e-mail me.