Is it just me, or are we really seeing a major growth in genealogy libraries? This week I wrote about the new genealogy library about to open in Logan, Utah. On September 1, I wrote about the new Connor-Bishop Historical Resource Center that will open in a few months in the Portland, Oregon, area. (Click here for details.)
Now the Mid-Continent Public Library of Independence, Missouri, is planning to spend $8 million for a brand-new, world-class genealogy center on 6.5 acres of land that the library recently purchased. Construction is expected to start in May and should be completed in the spring of 2008.
The new center will house a collection of family history from Missouri and Kansas, as well as national and international collections. This is expected to become the only facility of its magnitude in the region. Library Director Richard Wilding says that it won't be as large as the Mormon Family History Center in Salt Lake City, but that is a private facility. Wilding said he hopes it will be similar in stature to the Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Mid-Continent Library already has a 12,000-square-foot genealogy center, but it is full and doesn't have room for expansion. Wilding said the new building should accommodate the genealogy center for at least the next 20 years. It also will provide a lunchroom for researchers to use and a separate programming room for the library to hold genealogy classes.
Independence City Manager Robert Heacock noted that the project is a welcome addition to the city. "This is going to raise the profile of our city," he said. "We already have a synergy for historical places here in Independence, and this furthers that presence. It lines up with what we've done in terms of tourism and our historical sites. People are starting to see Independence as synonymous with history."