Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Library survey is done

Yesterday was a serious work day. I was able to make it out to a local library to get the Library Survey assignment (Lesson 4 of the NGS Home Study Course) finished. It was an interesting trip though.

First off, the library had what they termed the "Antioch Collection" downstairs in a locked conference room. Once a staff member opened the door, I then noticed that there were several locked cases for their books and was told that they don't open the cases for "browsing". They did, however have a binder with a list of what was in those cases which made things fairly easy although it was arranged by dewey number rather than by subject or alphabetical by author. In any event, thanks to the catalog, along with a brief flier of "highlights", I was able to find that the library had several family genealogies, a few newspaper collections (the oldest of which dated back to 1888), virtually no periodical collection (although it appeared they had at least subscribed to one Mayflower family periodical at one time and just hadn't taken it out of their catalog-instead of in the stacks, copies were found for free in front of the library shop), four file cabinets of various photos, newspaper clippings, event descriptions, memories, etc., subscriptions to ancestry.com and HeritageQuest, as well as a subscription to the archive of the Chicago Tribune with articles from 1985, a book on local naturalizations, lots of info collected from the local Ladies Group (mostly old minutes and descriptions of their annual plays), and quite a bit of info from the local area's Zoning and Planning Commission.

As the collection was definitely geared more towards a local history collection, rather than a genealogical collection, I'd say they have a decent group of useful information. However, even for a local history collection I would like to have seen a wider assortment of periodicals. A brief internet search for a historical society in Lake County, IL did not turn up a general group but there were several surrounding area societies whose periodicals could be nice additions to Antioch's history collection. Illinois also has a State Historical Society that puts out a periodical four times a year but the Antioch Library only had a couple of volumes of that journal. I'm not sure why since it would be my thought that the wider state historical context when used with the local areas more detailed information would provide the "whole picture" in historical research of the area. So I find this to be a big hole. But again, this is a small town one mile from the Wisconsin border and I think they do what they can and at least now I have a great description of what they have. It will be interesting to see how/if they expand upon their holdings in the future.

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