Library cards can unlock your family history

LibraryI had a friend recently ask me if she could get help about her family’s history. She wasn’t certain about how much of her family history had been done, she thought it may not be a lot. Well, a search of Trove revealed that a lot had been done, a whole lot. She could borrow a book from the State Library of Queensland in Brisbane and read all about it. I also had the same experience when searching for the Warren family history. Some of our original ancestors information was already available in a family history in South Australia. We may think of our local libraries and use them every week, but there are so many other libraries that hold valuable information.

National Library of Australia

Trove is run by the National Library of Australia. One of the resources that you can search is books or family histories that have been added to their catalogue. When the book title comes up, it will show what libraries that the book is available at. Depending on the library that it is listed at you may be able to request a loan to either view at your nearest library through an interlibrary loan or you may have to travel to your nearest State Library. Also look out for many resources that are starting to come online. I found a couple of family photos in the State Library that I could download instantly.

Firstly apply for a National Library card on the Trove website  Fill out the online form and it can be done in a few minutes. Then the library card can be mailed out to you to use in a couple of weeks. Although the main reading room for the National Library of Australia is in Canberra, there are many affiliated libraries and online resources available. If you are able to get an item at your library, then this is an interlibrary loan. You will need your National Library card to access all of those resources. It is also possible to get a part of a book copied through the National Library, depending on copyright laws for how much can be copied.

The National Library of Australia has a long borrowing period of 10 weeks. However, be aware that if you go over that time you will get a large bill of $300 if you don’t reply to their overdue notice.

State Libraries

State Libraries like the John Oxley in Queensland, have their own collection and you need to get a State Library card to access their collection. This can be done on their website at  . The great thing about being a member is you can request items to be available when you visit. This is great when you are driving an hour to look at a book. You also have access to computers you can book and you can pre purchase credit for photocopying.

Universities and TAFE libraries

Another thing to note is that Universities and TAFE can allow you to borrow their resources too. There may be annual charges involved but it may be worth applying. Also many of these institutions will have reciprocal borrowing under ULANZ scheme which means that it’s not just your local University or TAFE you can borrow from, it can be any of the Australian or New Zealand institutions in the scheme. Some institutions may have extensive history sections and  you may have a world of resources available in fleshing out your family history.

So next time your thinking about going to a library, instead of your local library, take a look around other types of libraries. It’s always worth a visit to any type of library to see what resources they may have. There are libraries everywhere;  in local genealogy societies, there may be a library in the organisation you have joined like our local RSL, there may be a library in your church. Open up to world of many opportunities to uncover a bit more of your family history . You may even uncover a book already written about your family history and save yourself a lot of time and money.

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