Tuesday, August 20, 2013

New Family History Library Concepts, Director

Diane L. Loosle is the new director of the Salt Lake City Family History LibraryThe Salt Lake City Family History Library has a new director and new concepts are coming for the library and FamilySearch family history centers.

These were two of the topics covered in the FamilySearch blogger dinner and briefing held Tuesday night before the start of the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) 2013 annual conference.

Diane C. Loosle is the new director of the Family History Library. “Not only is she the first female director of the library, she is one of the most qualified and capable to ever serve in this position,” said Don Anderson, FamilySearch Senior Vice President.

Loosle says one of her top priorities is to take the Family History Library and its 4,700 family history centers and make them discovery centers for people of all ages. “We need to offer fun experiences and activities for the entire family that will increase love, appreciation, and understanding of their ancestors,” said Loosle.

“The Family History Library and our centers…will be more youth and family oriented,” she said. “They’ll be multimedia rich and interactive and try and introduce people to family history and discovering their story in a really fun and engaging way.”

Paul Nauta, FamilySearch public affairs manager, said we’ll hear FamilySearch talking about “heart turning experiences.”

Example floor plan of a Family History Discovery CenterNauta showed an example floor plan for a “Family History Discovery Center.”

“We will, in the next 12 months, launch probably three if not five of these very interactive discovery centers,” he said. “We can’t tell you where. Stay tuned.” (As I recall, those who attended the BYU conference heard Dennis Brimhall mention two possible locations.)

One feature of discovery centers is an oral history studio, according to Nauta. Patrons reserve the studio for one hour to interview a relative or recite their own history. They pay $8, which covers the price of the flash drive they receive with the recorded interview. FamilySearch does not keep a copy of the interview, but provides the capability as a service. They are working on site features that would allow future interviews to be saved onto the FamilySearch website.

Three oral history studios are already in operation. According to the FamilySearch wiki, one is in San Diego, one is in Riverton, Utah, and one is in Logan, Utah.

Another new service of family history centers will be photo scanning, said Nauta. Agreements have already been made with equipment providers to supply scanners. The scanners will digitize a stack of differently-sized photos and upload them to your FamilySearch account. You can then go back, tag the people, and attach them to Family Tree.

“You can’t attract a younger audience and offer the same experiences,” said Loosle.

Diane Loosle is a 19-year veteran of FamilySearch. She began her career as a research consultant, then led patron services initiatives, the development of the FamilySearch Wiki, and free training content on FamilySearch.org. She is an accredited genealogist and holds an MBA.

According to Nauta, more information about discovery centers will be given later in the week in a presentation by Merrill White. You can bet I’ll be there to cover the presentation for you. Stay tuned.


  1. The Washington DC FHC has a functioning Oral History Room, fyi.

  2. Congratulations to Diane! I was in a Dr. Thomas W. Jones class with her last year and she was definitely one of the smartest persons in there.


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