A new era in family research
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Those who may be mourning the closure of 24 family history centers in south Salt Lake Valley need only to step inside the new Riverton FamilySearch Library to appreciate the high-tech benefits of consolidation.
The library occupies 10,000 square feet of the first floor of the Church's Riverton Office Building, a former Intel-owned edifice replete with wirings and inner workings to accommodate the latest in computer hardware and software.
The Riverton FamilySearch Library replaces the two-dozen smaller, limited-use family history centers previously housed in local meetinghouses that had served some 90 south-valley stakes.
And it conveniently duplicates nearly all the offerings of the Church's larger, well-known Family History Library in downtown Salt Lake City.
"You could call it Family History Library 'Lite' and (stake) Family History Center 'Premium,'" said Paul Nauta, FamilySearch public affairs manager, during the recent media tours of the new Riverton library.
With extended hours beyond those of the meetinghouse centers and a full complement of equipment and software facilitating genealogical research, "in pooling our resources, we can provide better services and a better experience," Brother Nauta said.
Besides a series of training labs and training rooms, the Riverton FamilySearch Library offers 127 computer work stations, free Web and premium subscription access, and 20 microfilm and fiche readers, some which will convert information to digital images.
Open Mondays through Saturdays and with extended evening hours Tuesdays through Thursdays, the library is also home to 50,000 rolls of the most-used and most-requested microfilm. If a patron needs a microfilm not in stock, it can be ordered and delivered in as little as a day's time.
The use of library resources and access to its staff of qualified researchers and volunteers is all free, although printing, photocopying and special orders may result in nominal charges.
Daytime and evening classes are available at the library Mondays through Saturdays, with the schedule available at familysearch.org/fhc/riverton. Groups can schedule additional, specialized classes as well.
Church officials will monitor the new library as they consider similar regionally consolidated facilities in other areas, Brother Nauta said.