Should program planners have a pre-registration for free genealogy events?
Its a good question that deserves some thought. Personally it is my experience as a genealogy librarian and program planner that even in situations where genealogy programs are offered free to the public, that having participants sign up for the event in advance is a real advantage. Here’s why:
Inspiration from an old barn.
On the highway north from home enroute to a speaking engagement I passed a farm so close to the road I could read easily the farm name on the barn: Risk and Hope. I smiled, because it sums up farming on the northern great plains so concisely. Later that night, homeward bound from a rather unhappy event where numbers failed to meet the program planner’s dreams, I passed the farm again and pondered anew the message in the name for people like that program planner, How do we reduce Risk and increase Hope for the program planner?
Before moving to my present home I initiated an interesting networking opportunity at a restaurant across from the public library. Every month I would send out an e-mail invitation to the city archivist, a couple of librarians, a half dozen professional genealogists, a podiatrist, and a couple of lawyers to join me for lunch. No one knew for sure but me who was coming. Sometimes just three of us, sometimes a dozen. But the result was generally an opportunity to network between professionals with an interest in records and genealogy. The event was dutch treat. The conversation was lively and interesting. And very educational. Here we are at a costumed event, in the courtyard. The waitresses wearing parlour maids outfits and caps, astpu would guess, felt the caps were demeaning. Self-directed learning at its best with onion soup, garlic bread, and a group discussion topic.
I spotted a notice in a British genealogical publication that some noted professional genealogist was holding a surgery at a certain time or place. I smiled. My English cousins speak as peculiar a language as my American nieces and nephews, just not the same language. A surgery is an event where you can visit a specialist and discuss a problem or issue. In North American English we often use the term “clinic” the same way. So what is a Genealogy Clinic and how could it be used?
Recently I encountered a professional seminar speaker who called himself an “independent information entrepreneur”. So I Googled the term. What intrigued me was the fact this speaker was not trained in library and information sciences. In the library world the term refers to librarians who contract to do research. Although few librarians are interested and success may be dificult, those with strong reference and research experience and skills may become an independent information entrepreneur. Continue reading
As the old librarian lay on the floor gasping for breath he noted a lot of useless old books on the genealogy society librarian’s book-shelve ( see view from the floor, above)
Have you ever visited a genealogy society library and marvelled at the vast amount of junk they collect? Not so long ago I had that experience. The basic problem is a lack of professional training for the volunteer librarian and assistants. But there is hope.
For a few days now i have been wanting to comment on these two issues, workshop registration and pre-workshop learner assessment. These are two tasks that are occuring somewhere on th continent as we speak. Local societies hosting events know just how hard smooth registrations are to attain. And speakers and teachers desperately need to learn more about how to get the pre-assessment info early enough to make meaningful adjustments to course/worshop content. There is help on the web for both of these tasks. Let’s look at these.
A recent media release from The National Archives (UK) makes me wonder if other archives or libraries are exploring the idea of educating their clients using podcasts. It seems efficient: A lecture by a subject specialist is recorded and made accessible through the website WHEN THE CLIENT NEEDS IT. I expect that major genealogy collections will include podcast lectures teaching clients what is in the collection and how to access and use it. Interested in this example? Read on.
As a genealogy librarian for over 20+ years, I faced almost daily the chaos of unprepared genealogists who neither knew what the wanted nor what they had! Many had no idea where they learned what they had! Out of this experience came a number of library sponsored programs on a variety of interconnected topcs. Let me tell you about some of these. Continue reading