Church Renovates Family History Library
By Chad Phares, Church Magazines
The Church celebrated the renovation of the largest family history library in the world in late January after extensive upgrades were completed at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.
The library, which is one of the top 10 tourist attractions in the state of Utah, held an open house January 2228 that featured personal genealogy assistance, family history classes, guest speakers, and free software samples.
Although the Family History Library is already regarded by many as perhaps the top family history library in the world, the Church made renovations in order to improve technology and visitor convenience.
Before the renovation, those looking for published family histories needed to search for them in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building. Now all 80,000 of the Family History Library's published family histories and biographies are located on the main floor of the library.
The Church added a videophone that makes it possible for deaf researchers throughout the world to contact deaf researchers in the library. Also added was a 30-station computer lab, giving the library more than 200 computers on which visitors can use family history research software and access the Internet.
“Our guests are always pleased to find that many of the popular pay-per-use genealogy sites on the Web are accessible for free through our library computers,” said Ray Wright, director of the Family History Library.
“The improvements make the library more user-friendly,” said Brother Wright. “We are better equipped now to handle both young and old, beginner and advanced researcher. We want our guests, regardless of experience, knowledge, or primary language spoken, to have a successful experience when they visit. We want them to leave excited about their research and eager to return again.”
During the open house, which was celebrated in conjunction with the 110th anniversary of the Genealogical Society of Utah, the library offered 30 classes on family history research. Classes focused on research for youth, ethnic research, and using the Internet, TempleReady™, and Personal Ancestral File ®.
Additional information about the Family History Library may be found at www.familysearch.org.