07 November 2010

LA Excursion: Los Angeles Family History Library

A trip to West Los Angeles was our plan Saturday morning. Our first stop was John O'Groats for spiced pumpkin pancakes and bacon-and-cheese-stuffed waffles.

With our stomachs full - we hopped back in our car and drove a couple more blocks to our main destination - the newly renovated Los Angeles Family History Library.

We noted a flurry of activity on the grounds of the Church of Latter Day Saints as groups of volunteers were starting to put up holiday decorations. The LAFHL - as the Family History Library is now abbreviated - is located in the basement of the main building on the campus.

The first thought we had as we entered the library, "Where are all the books?" What we saw to the left and right were rows of computers, and rows of microfilm and microfiche readers. In speaking with several of the LAFHL staff, we learned that they had reduced their book volume by at least fifty percent. Those materials with expired copyright were shipped to scanning centers in Ogden, Utah and Mesa, Arizona. The idea being that patrons, from anywhere, would be able to access scanned versions on-line at FamilySearch. Digitization started on November 1.

On the official tour, our docent explained that patrons would enter the Library, reserve a computer space at which to work, or attend one of the classes. To the rear of the Library are two large classrooms that each seat approximately 30 to 50 people. State of the art projectors and wall-to-wall screens are perminent fixtures as well. We learned that other organizations could reserve the classrooms.

Other parts of the Library we visited were the Jewish and Polish collections, the main stacks, the microfilm and microfiche storage, and the oversized and rare book areas. We happened to see a couple of other SCGS members enjoying the Open House - small world.

Experience the amazing transformation for yourself. The Open House continues from 3pm to 7pm, on Sunday, November 7. In addition to tours, there is also a schedule of mini-classes.

John O'Groats is located at 10516 West Pico Boulevard.

The Los Angeles Family History Library is located at 10741 Santa Monica Blvd, West Los Angeles, CA 90025. Note: city and zip are especially important when mapping this destination as SM Blvd is long and the street numbers are repeated.

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