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FAMILY HISTORY CENTER
POLICY AND PROCEDURES

A. PROGRAM OVERVIEW:

A.1.     The Local History Department of the Berkshire Athenaeum has entered into an agreement with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (also known as the Mormons) to serve as a Family History Center by distributing Church microfilm for genealogical research.  The Mormons have some of the most extensive family history resources in the world located in their Family History Library.  These resources are comprised of census records, birth records, family histories, church registers, and other records from many parts of the world.  By entering into this agreement the Athenaeum vastly expands its capability to provide service to genealogists.

A.2.     Researchers gain access to the Family History Library through a special catalog.  The Family History Library Catalog is a list of the records (books, microfilms, maps and other materials) in the Family History Library.  The Catalog gives a description of each of these records and is used as a tool to identify the specific records in the Family History Library of interest to the researcher. 

A.3.     The Catalog does not contain the actual records; rather, it briefly describes each record and its contents.  It also tells where to find it in the Family History Library.  It does not list all the names and places on the records, only the main ones that the records are about.  Further, it lists only the records the Family History Library has collected, not those that might be available in genealogical collections elsewhere.

A.4.     The Catalog works like a mail-order catalog.  Each entry describes a product and gives a  film order number, otherwise known as a catalog number.  This number is used to find the record or to have a microfilm copy sent to the Athenaeum as a Family History Center.  Some records in the catalog do not have film order numbers, which is an indicator the items have not been microfilmed.  These items may not be ordered through this program and are only available for use at the Family History Library headquarters in Salt Lake City.

B. POLICY OVERVIEW:

B.1.      The Athenaeum relies on the service of volunteers in the Local History Department to complete the ordering paperwork.  For this reason, microfilm from the Family History Library Catalog may be ordered only at those times a specially trained volunteer has been scheduled for that purpose — to assist in locating material to be ordered in the catalog and in placing the order.  While library employees may want to help, the use of the Family History Library Catalog and the resulting orders must not take them away from their other Athenaeum duties.  Charges assessed to the Athenaeum by the Family History Library for this service are passed along to the researcher.

C. TIMES ORDERS ARE ACCEPTED:

C.1.     Volunteers have been scheduled to assist with the microfilm orders over several days each week at times that include weekday mornings, afternoons and evenings, and Saturdays.  A specific schedule of hours is posted and available in the Local History Department of the Athenaeum.  Researchers visiting from a distance should call or otherwise contact the Local History Department (i.e. visiting the Athenaeum’s web site) for a confirmation of the ordering times before traveling to the Athenaeum to place their orders.

C.2.     Experienced researchers who are familiar with the use of the Family History Library Catalog may search for materials they may want to order whenever the Athenaeum is open, however orders may be placed only during the posted ordering times.

C.3.     The hours when microfilm may be ordered from the Family History Library may be expanded as more volunteers become available, or changed subject to the availability of volunteers.

C.4.     No orders will be accepted via telephone, mail, fax or e-mail.

D. CHARGES:

D.1.     The Family History Library charges for the use of their film.  The Athenaeum passes this charge along to the researcher in the form of a $4.00 fee per roll of film ordered.  This fee must be paid at the time the order is placed. 

D.2.     An additional fee of $4.00 is charged for each renewal.  This fee must be paid at the time the renewal request is made.

D.3.     Checks should be made payable to the Berkshire Athenaeum (and not to the Family History Library or the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints).

D.4.     Those researchers whose checks are returned for lack of funds risk the loss of borrowing privileges from the Family History Library in addition to any other consequences the Athenaeum may routinely impose upon those whose checks are so returned.

E. LOAN PERIODS:

E.1.      Loan periods are set by the Family History Library.  The initial loan period is approximately forty-five days (plus the time in transit).

E.2.      Films will clearly be marked with a DUE DATE.  If a renewal is not requested by the borrower before the specified date, the film will be returned to the Family History Library.

F. RENEWALS:

F.1.      Film may be renewed twice (each for a forty-five day time period).

F.2.      Renewal requests must be made in person so that the required fees may be collected at the time the request is made.  No renewals will be accepted via telephone, mail, fax or email.

F.3.      Renewal requests may be made to Local History Department staff at any time the Local History Department is open (and not just at those times when orders are accepted).

G. NOTIFICATION:

G.1.     Interlibrary Loan (ILL) staff  will notify borrowers by telephone, e-mail and/or postcard, when their film arrives at the Athenaeum. 

G.2.     Athenaeum staff and/or volunteers will not contact borrowers prior to returning films.

H.        USE OF FAMILY HISTORY LIBRARY MICROFILM:

H.1.     After the microfilm arrives at the Athenaeum it may be used at any time the Athenaeum is open, subject to film reader availability.  Microfilm readers in both the Athenaeum’s Local History Department and the Reference Department may be used.

H.2.     Once processed into the Athenaeum Family History Center microfilm will be stored in the Local History Department.  Borrowers will sign the film out and return it to Local History Department staff after each use.

H.3.     Films may be used in the Athenaeum only.  Under no circumstances will borrowers be authorized to remove Family History Library film from the Athenaeum.

H.4.     In fairness to all of the Athenaeum’s researchers, time limits may have to be imposed on the use of microfilm readers during peak usage periods; and depending upon demand, the Athenaeum may have to reserve its microfilm reader/printers for printing only.

H.5.     Copies may be made from the film using the Athenaeum’s reader/printers at the standard fee of $.25 per page.

I. PROCESSING FILM ORDERS:

I.1.       As noted above, orders are taken by volunteers coordinated through the Local History Department.  Completed orders are turned over to ILL, batched, and submitted weekly to the Family History Library. A tracking record for the order is prepared and kept in ILL.

I.2.       Shipments of film are received regularly from the “Salt Lake Distribution Center” in Salt Lake City.  There are no markings on the box or address label referring to Family History Library or Center.  The labels are addressed to the “Berkshire Athenaeum, Attn: Ronald Latham.”  Because these shipments are so routine, library employees should watch for them and assure that they are routed directly to ILL (rather than to Acquisitions, which is standard library procedure for materials shipments). 

I.3.       ILL checks in the shipment and forwards the microfilm to the Local History Department for temporary storage while the film is at the Athenaeum.  The tracking record is updated in ILL to reflect the receipt of the film.

I.4.       Staff and/or volunteers in the Local History Department will check the inventory of Family History Library films on site each week to determine which must be returned.  At the end of the loan period for any given film, the returning film will be routed to ILL.  

I.5.       ILL will package the film, have it shipped to the Family History Library at the Salt Lake Distribution Center, and adjust the tracking record to reflect the date of return.  The Family History Library requests films be returned in the original packing box to facilitate their automated tracking from their shipping label.

J. FUND ACCOUNTING:

J.1.       Order and renewal fees are collected by Local History Department staff and commingled with any other departmental collections.  The transaction is noted on the “Daily Receipt Form” which is forwarded to the administrative offices with other collections. 

J.2.       Athenaeum Administration will deposit the receipts into a trustee checking account and will track the Family History Library transactions separately from other Athenaeum business. 

J.3.       The Family History Library will bill the Athenaeum monthly for film loans and renewals from the preceding month.  The bill will be paid by check out of the trustee checking account. 

J.4.       Any surplus generated from the account will go toward shipping expenses involved in returning the films to the Salt Lake Distribution Center or other expenses associated with providing the Family History Center service.


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Updated May 2010.  

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Berkshire Athenaeum, Pittsfield's Public Library, Pittsfield, Massachusetts