(+) The True Expense of Genealogy Research

The following is a Plus Edition article written by and copyright by Dick Eastman. 

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Today’s story about the closing of the Hiram Whittington Arkansas Local History and Genealogy Room in the Garland County Library in Hot Springs, Arkansas, is sad news. (See http://wp.me/p5Z3-Ji for details.) However, in this case, I have to agree with Library Director John Wells, who is quoted in the article. If a valuable resource at a taxpayer-supported public library is being used less and less, managers of that library need to re-evaluate where the funds are being spent. Libraries are under constant financial pressure. They obviously need to spend their meager budgets in ways to obtain the “most bang for the buck.”

In fact, John Wells is correct. Anyone with a computer can now obtain more genealogy information online that what any public library in a town or a small city can provide. The online information is available quickly and conveniently, is usually faster to search, and (in many cases) is available for less money. In fact, it is often cheaper to search online than it is to travel to a repository to search.

Perhaps the phrase “less money” requires some clarification.

Of course, when speaking of expenses, we all think about admission prices at the front door. However, that is but one of the many expenses that must be paid to visit a physical library or archive.

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