[52WeToBeGeneChall] Rust Library & Genealogy

Geneabloggers.com and Amy at WeTree have done it again! This year they’re bringing us 52 weeks of genealogy challenges to blog about. As Amy said in her kick-off post, this year is meant to stretch our brains, work our skills, and build us into top notch researchers! She goes on to say:

The goal is to get genealogists to stretch their brains a bit. Beginning researchers will discover some new resources. You are encouraged to push buttons, click links and study all corners of the web sites. Some of you will be familiar with all of the tools used in the challenges. If that’s the case, approach them from a different angle. Don’t use them to search your ancestors, experiment with other ideas and explore the different ways the tool can be used.

This week’s topic: The Local Public Library

I apologize for deviating from this blog’s regularly scheduled programming. Tombstone Tuesday will be back next week. However, I’m already behind on my 52 Weeks to Better Genealogy challenges. This post will serve for both posts regarding the local public library.

Loudoun County’s 7 library branches serve nearly 300,000 residents. In addition to the 7 public libraries there is one genealogical library, Thomas Balch Library. For this challenge I thought that it would be entirely too mundane to head over to the genealogical library and write a tome about the holdings they have there. It seemed too easy, too obvious. Instead, I thought it would be more informative and more interesting to explore one of the other branches.

Rust Library’s Books

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Rust Library is located in Leesburg, Virginia, the County seat of Loudoun. It was recently completely renovated. The anticipated reopening of Rust left me slightly disappointed. The library is certainly beautiful, spacious, and highly technical. However, it’s seriously lacking in one major thing. Books. It seems that nearly every shelf is only a third full.

Perusing the library catalog Loudoun County has 2286 holdings with a subject keyword matching “genealogy.” In the library catalog 58 of these were held at Rust, 5 of those 58 are audiobooks. However, only found 11 books in the non-fiction section at Rust. Of those 11 books I wasn’t really familiar with any of them. Some did seem intriguing and very specific.

Rust had absolutely no publications related to genealogy or family history. I was slightly surprised to learn this, as I was under the impression that our DAR chapter donated a copy of the DAR Magazine to each library branch in the County. The only library that actually had a holding of the DAR Magazine was Thomas Balch.

Rust Library’s Online Genealogical Resources

Despite the fact that Rust doesn’t have a plethora of books relating to genealogy, anyone who frequents Rust is also able to take advantage of their online holdings.

Loudoun County offers their patrons (library card holders only) access to the following databases:

  • Ancestry Library Edition
  • Biography Resource Center
  • Civil War Era by ProQuest
  • General OneFile
  • Heritage Quest Online
  • History Resource Center US
  • History Resource Center World
  • In the First Person
  • NetLibrary eBooks

In addition to these databases, Rust is offering two classes that relate to genealogy and family history.

Rust’s Special Collections

Though I already knew the answer, I inquired at the reference desk about whether or not Rust had any special collections holdings. Of course, they do not. All of the County’s special collections are housed across town at Thomas Balch Library.

In Sum…

If you want genealogy in Loudoun, go to Thomas Balch. If you’re just a beginner in genealogy you may be able to whet your appetite at one of the 7 branch libraries, but if you’re an advanced researcher you’ll find yourself stalemated. Balch has tons of genealogical resources, both specific to Loudoun and smaller holdings across the nation.

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