Monday, March 23, 2009

Church History Library closing, not the Family History Library

FamilySearch has issued an announcement designed to ward off confusion that might be caused by the similarly named Church History Library and Family History Library. The two facilities are both owned and operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and are both located on the Church's Salt Lake City downtown "Temple Square" campus. The Church History Library is moving across the street from its present location in the east wing of the Church Office Building.

Map showing Family History Library versus the Church History Library, which is moving

The statement reads in part,

The temporary closure and relocation of the Church History Library will have no effect on the Family History Library's operations and services as they are completely separate facilities. The Family History Library will remain open.

The Church History Library has announced the following regarding its temporary closure:

  • The Church History Library will close 10 April 2009. It will open again for service on Monday, 22 June 2009.
  • Duplication requests will not be accepted until the new facility is opened.
  • Other walk-in and call-in requests will be accepted through noon on 10 April 2009. E-mail requests will no longer be accepted until the new facility is opened.
  • Call the customer service staff at 801-240-2272 should you have questions.

One exciting new service you should try when the Church History Library reopens is imaging of select microfilm resources. Remind me in July and I'll tell you more about this service.

Church History Library's 48 year journey

"The new LDS Church History Library will technically have taken even longer [than the Salt Lake Temple]—more than 48 years to build—when it opens early next year," according to Lynn Arave, Deseret News writer. The Salt Lake Temple took an incredibly long 40 years. But over 48 years ago, on 7 October 1960 the Deseret News announced a Church history archive and genealogical building to be built where the new Church History Library and Archive now stands.

The original plan for that building called for 11 stories of steel and concrete, with 400,000 square feet of space. A later plan increased the height to 15 stories. The building was to house the church historian's office, library and the archives/library of the genealogical society.

Several evolutions made a 15 story structure unnecessary. One was the adoption of high-density storage equipment. Another was the Granite Mountain Records Vault in Little Cottonwood Canyon which began service in 1963. The Vault contains about 65,000 square feet of floor space.

Another change was the decision not to create a mission training center in the four lower floors of the Church Office Building! That led to temporary homes on these floors for the Family History Library in the west wing and the Church History Library in the east wing. In 1985 the Family History Library moved to its current building on West Temple. The Family History Library has five floors and 142,000 square feet of space.

And this year the Church History Library and Archives moves to its new location on the site originally planned for it some 48 years ago, into a building with five stories and 230,000 square feet of floor space.

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