Family researchers in the Kansas City area now have a great new resource. The new Midwest Genealogy Center, which opened Saturday, is billed as one the nation's largest libraries specifically for people tracing their ancestry. The 52,000-square-foot building replaces a facility one-quarter its size that was housed in the Mid-Continent Public Library's north Independence branch.
The library regularly attracts visitors from as far afield as Hawaii. The $8 million center features ample classrooms, videoconference space and computer work stations. Security and fire safety have improved, and researchers can now digitally convert the documents they find, rather than rely on librarians.
One aspect of the genealogy library hasn't changed: nnlike many similar collections, almost all of the plat maps, census records, marriage licenses and other documents are accessible directly by the public, not locked away in storage.
With more space, the genealogy center expects to boost its public programs and attract regional and national speakers, as well as pursue its own collections.
For more information, look at the library's web site at http://www.mcpl.lib.mo.us/genlh/mgc.htm.