New Changes for Serving Patrons in the Family History Library

September 9, 2013  - by 

Within the Family History Library, we have made some recent changes. In order to serve a growing worldwide community, the expertise of our research consultants is now being shared with teams focused on providing enhanced patron services to family history centers throughout North America, Latin America and Internationally.

To meet these growing worldwide needs, resources have been reallocated. However, in order to continue providing patrons at the Family History Library with excellent service, research consultants who remain in the library have been relieved of other responsibilities so that they can focus their full time and attention to patrons.

In considering this new patron service model, we reviewed peak times at the library, and have staffed accordingly, offering expert research consultant counter help during peak hours. The staff change only effects 14 hours of the 60 hours we are open each week.  Also, during the 46 peak Library hours, more research consultant staff members are out helping patrons than ever before.  We have moved our consultants out from behind staff doors to assist at research counters and out on the patron floor.

To help supplement the staff, we are reaching out to the community and volunteers.  There is a common misconception that only research consultants can offer assistance.  Many of our missionaries and community volunteers are accredited and expert in their fields of research.  All of our 600 plus volunteer force donate their time and talents to assist our patrons in their research goals.  This change has only been in effect for two days, so we ask for your patience and understanding as we implement and refine the new patron service model.

The Family History Library is open more hours, provides more computers, printing options, and professional help than any other genealogical library, society, or archive in the world.  We remain committed to providing all of these services free of charge to patrons from all over the world.  If you are interested in becoming a Family History Library Volunteer, please contact the Family History Library at 801-240-6536.



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  1. What “other responsibilities” have people had, and where have the missionaries who did not remain in the Library go? Can you give us an idea of the big picture

    1. Those are wonderful questions. Regarding our missionaries, nothing has changed with our missionary staff. Their roles, responsibilities, and time of service procedures remain the same. The positive impact of their service and dedication is incalculable!
      Regarding the responsibilities of our Research Consultants, the reach and scope of assignments carried by our research consultant team is vast. They not only provide the in-house Library needs – such as one-on-one patron assistance, teaching patron classes, conducting missionary training, and hosting visiting groups and societies – they have also been serving in the community arm of the genealogical world. These responsibilities include conferences and trainings, working with engineers in the creation of FamilySearch products, answering genealogical questions via Facebook, Forums , Skype and other venues, supporting Family History Centers, and serving to assist in genealogical societies and LDS membership needs. The genealogical world and the needs to keep up with it have blossomed world-wide. To accommodate this growth, we determined it necessary to concentrate the talents and efforts of our research consultants. We have created 3 different staffing focuses concentrating on a specific area. One focus is consultants working closely with the engineers to develop genealogical tools and products. Another focus is on consultants serving the genealogical community and Family History Centers worldwide, and the Library consultants focus of dedicating their time to the serving the patrons in the Family History Library. The Library focus has allowed us to increase the access of patrons to research consultants during the peak Library hours.

  2. I’m sure glad you posted this, because it looks pretty sparse in the consultant areas on each floor. Thanks for the update.

  3. “…the expertise of our research consultants is now being shared with teams focused on providing enhanced patron services to family history centers throughout North America, Latin America and Internationally.” What does this mean? I’m interested in its effect on Vacaville, CA family history center.

  4. I think your ideas regarding the research consultant staff is good news. I usually visit the library about every 6 months, sometimes for two weeks at a time. My last visit was in June of this year. I had several bad experiences with the missionaries … the first time this has happened. I suggest if people are going to rely more on help from missionaries, that some regulations are enforced.

    1. A patron is considered any person who has an interest in our service, whether they are physically in the Family History Library and family history centers, or who are seeking help remotely. The service we are offering in the Family History Library is to help patrons, or those who are visiting the Library, as early as possible during their visit so they can make the best use of their time. We try to discover what the needs of each patron are, get them to the records they need quickly, connect them with volunteers and consultants to help with computers and online sources, or provide expert advice on tough genealogical problems. For additional information on our services and resources see the Family History Library page located in the FamilySearch Wiki

  5. Not sure where to post my comment, but since it regards the FHL I thought I’d try here. I’m a fan of the BLOG, even though one has to hunt for the “link.” I bookmarked it for my own use as I check it regularly. At one time I could type — new books update — in the box and up would come a list of newest additions to the FHL. Am I doing something wrong or have you made a change???? Our genealogical society brings a group up each Spring and many in the group come every year so I thought this was a good idea. I can remember in the “old days” when there was a three ring binder on the main floor showing latest additions.