Go to your local public library branch. Make a note of the genealogy books in the collection that may help you gain research knowledge. Don’t forget to check the shelves in both the non-fiction section and the reference section. If you do not already have a library card, take the time to get one. If you have a genealogy blog, write about what you find in your library’s genealogy collection.
I think I might have went a little overboard with this. I hope you don't mind.
I used to have a library card. About, oh, three or four years ago. And I'm ashamed to say that is probably the last time I visited my local library. I needed this challenge.
Why is this part one of a two part post? Because prior to my actual, real world visit, I visited my library online.
The three libraries in my county participate in PINES (Public Information Network for Electronic Services). I don't want to say all because I'm not sure, so I'll say almost all of the "card catalogs" of the public libraries in the entire state of Georgia can be searched from this one site - www.gapines.org. You can search all the participating libraries at once, or break it down to a single branch.
After performing a search, a couple of options for advancing the search come up. On the left margin are relevant subjects and authors based on your search. You can also "browse the shelf" after choosing a particular book. This will show you what other titles are adjacent to the selected book on the shelf at the library. Picking a title will show you where the book is housed and whether or not it is available.
You can also manage your library account online. By entering your library card barcode and password, you can request to put the titles you just found via the search on hold. From here, you can also request to keep a book longer than the allotted time given. This is usually granted if no one else has placed a hold on the book.
I was also able to visit my specific library branch online (www.houpl.org). Here I was able to see the hours of operation, which I'm glad I checked. My local library is now closed on Sundays. This was not always so. I'm guessing this is due to budget cuts.
My local library page also reminded me that state residents have access to "Georgia's Virtual Library," GALILEO (Georgia Library Learning Online).
A couple of other things of interest I can do online: I can see the new titles recently added to each branch, and I can print out an inter-library loan form. I found it a pretty neat thing that the ILL forms can be faxed in to my local branch, so I can search all the libraries in Georgia and request a book from hundreds of miles away right from home!
Is there any reason left to actually visit my local library? Of course. There's nothing like running your fingers over the stacks! :-)