Genealogy competition leads to ice cream party
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Success with using the Ask A Librarian service!!

IStock-648675538The obituary I requested on Friday showed up in my email on Monday. Thanks Ask A Librarian!

Friday I told you about a genealogy competition we held with the kids. Surprisingly it was my 11-year-old, Kaitlyn, that found the most about our McCall family. Since one of the McCall children she found lived here in Boise, I wanted to take Kaitlyn to the public library, teach her how to use the microfilm reader, and locate the obituary. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, the library was closed. But, their website had the Ask A Librarian service where I could request the obituary for a small fee.

I was reminded of the Ask a Librarian service in last week's webinar, 50 More Websites Every Genealogist Should Know. This webinar was one for the ages!

So, I requested the obituary, added a checkmark in the "do you agree to pay the $5 service fee" box, and submitted the request.

Just minutes ago I received an email from the City of Boise which read, "The obituary for Hazel Dotson is attached! There is no charge for this since I was able to get it from our NewsBank Idaho Statesman database." Sure enough, the obituary was attached and listed the whereabouts of all the siblings at the time of the obituary's publication which was exactly what I was hoping for.

The moral to this story: never miss Webinar Wednesday! You never know what you will learn. Thankfully I was reminded of this wonderful Ask A Librarian service.


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Nearly every medium to large public library has an "Ask a Librarian" type service (although that particular term used to be copyright by OCLC - not sure if it still is) but it still requires staff in the building if you want something that involves touching books, microfilm or vertical files. Be patient in those cases - most library staff have very limited access to those resources right now for a very good reason. They like a 24 hr turn around but that's not likely for most requests these days. (says the retired Genealogy Librarian)

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