The following article was written by Janet Tomkins, a genealogy librarian at the Vancouver Public Library in British Columbia. It is copyright 2006 by the author and is published here with her permission:
International Federation of Library Association's Section 37. Genealogy and Local History. Not the punchiest moniker, perhaps, but one that denotes an entity doing important work on behalf of librarians serving genealogists.
The Section (GENLOC for short) works at the global level to promote the interests of genealogists within the library world. Its parent organization, the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA), was established in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1927. With headquarters at the Royal Library in the Netherlands, IFLA now counts over 1700 members in 150 countries. The Federation is the leading international body representing the interests of library and information services and their users.
GENLOC originated as a Discussion Group at IFLA's annual conference in Jerusalem in 2000 and was formally established as a regular IFLA Section at the 2003 conference in Berlin.
The Section's goals are to:
- Be a voice for genealogy and local history librarians in the international information community.
- Facilitate and promote global networking among genealogy and local history professionals and between libraries, archives, and museums serving genealogists and local historians.
- Support and promote improved traditional and electronic genealogy and local history reference services.
- Proactively address data privacy concerns that affect genealogy and local history collections and services.
The Section has been very active since its inception, maintaining a listserv, distributing a newsletter, and organizing programs and study tours at IFLA conferences. The most recent conference program, on the theme of "Navigating the World of Our Immigrant Ancestors," presented at the 2005 Oslo conference, was very successful. GENLOC conference papers from Oslo and previous conferences are archived on IFLA's website at www.ifla.org/IV/index.htm.
While GENLOC has the potential to significantly influence the development of library-based resources and services for genealogists and to advocate on behalf of the genealogical community, it is a relatively new IFLA section and needs your support. How can you help?
- Learn more. Information about the Section and its activities is available online at www.ifla.org/VII/s37/index.htm.
- Make sure your local librarian or archivist knows about GENLOC. The webpage has a printable brochure that you can pass on (www.ifla.org/VII/s37/Brochure-English-3rd.pdf).
- Encourage your local librarian to join the GENLOC mailing list at http://infoserv.inist.fr/wwsympa.fcgi/info/genloc.
- E-mail questions, concerns, and information about library-related genealogy issues, such as access and privacy, to members of the Section's executive committee (see www.ifla.org/VII/s37/sgen-mem.htm).
- Encourage libraries, archives, and museums that you regularly use to join the Section if they are already members of IFLA. If they are not IFLA members, encourage them to join. A range of membership plans is available, depending on the size and location of the library. Individuals can join as Personal Affiliates. For information on IFLA membership, see www.ifla.org/III/members/index.htm.