Library Genealogy Policies

Herring StoneOne of the best questions I got presenting my Genealogy for a Non-Genealogist Librarian was a request for some examples of the genealogy policies I mentioned.  I’ve gotten permission to share some from some Iowa libraries, some with attribution some without. The most important part though is to have a policy so everyone is treated the same and told the same thing. As a library you can do a little research or a lot, do it all for free or charge, re-direct them to a local genealogy society or to someone who is a paid researcher. I would recommend if you do charge, confirm with the person that they want you to go ahead before you do the work. What policy works the best for you is up to you.

Thank you to all the libraries who responded to my request on IowaLib and agreed to let me post their policies here.  For the most part I’ve simply copied the text of the policy they sent into this post, but if they provided explanatory comments I thought would be helpful for people looking at modeling on their policies, I’ve copied that too and italicized them. They appear in the order I received them. If any library would like to share their policy now I’d be glad to add it or create a part 2 to this post.

All policies are current as of Spring 2014, but may be changed, updated, or prices given raised at any time. They are here for example only.

Indianola Public Library

The Indianola Public Library maintains a collection of local history and genealogy materials.  These materials are available for use by the public on a walk-in basis.

ICPL Carnegie
ICPL Carnegie

Recognizing that many people who are interested in genealogy do not live in the area, the staff of the Indianola Public Library will answer questions received by phone, mail, and email.

The following guidelines apply:

  • Questions must be specific in nature.
  • Questions must be able to be answered in a relatively short period of time.

The following restrictions apply:

  • Library staff will not research entire family histories.
  • Library staff will only accept five requests  (or names) at a time.

Payment for these services must be received prior to sending out information.  Payment must be in cash or money order.

Following is a payment schedule:

  • For requests easily answered in 30 minutes or less, a charge of $3.00 per page per printout will be assessed.
    Requests taking more than 30 minutes will be subject to a charge of $10.00 per hour (up to 2 hours), with additional charges for photocopies and mailing, regardless of whether any actual information is located.
    Fees are charged per request (or name).

Patrons submitting a request must agree to these terms before the Library staff will proceed.

Patrons will be referred to the Warren County Genealogical Society for further assistance, if necessary.
http://www.indianolaiowa.gov/departments/library/genealogy-and-interlibrary-loan/genealogy-research-policy.aspx

Oskaloosa Public Library

The text below is from their request form. The more formal policy is part of their broader reference policies and is available here.
http://www.oskaloosalibrary.org/aboutusourservicecontactus/policies/ref/ref-info

The library charges $7.50 per half hour for research, plus 20 cents each for microfilm copies and standard copies, and postage.  Our genealogy volunteer donates her time, and all proceeds go toward the purchase of more materials for the genealogy collection.  If you wish, you may set a limit on what you want to spend, and our volunteer will do what she can in that amount of time and report back to you.

Requests are usually completed in the order in which they are received.  If your request is urgent, please indicate the date when you need the information.

Our volunteer also does research at the Mahaska County Courthouse at the same fees stated above with proceeds going to the library.  The courthouse charges $2.00 each for a birth, marriage, or death certificate marked “for genealogy purposes only”.  Births and deaths begin with 1880; marriages begin with 1844.  Deeds, wills, and other documents are also available but must sometimes be copied by hand or laptop computer, entailing more research time.
http://www.oskaloosalibrary.org/genealogy/genrequest

Hawkins Memorial Library
La Porte City, IA

Stone-afterHawkins Memorial Library maintains a collection of local history and genealogy materials. These materials are available for use by the public on a walk-in basis.

Genealogical and historical searches of the newspaper and census data on microfilm should be made by the persons desiring the information. Microfilms will not be loaned out to individuals or libraries.

Recognizing that many people who are interested in genealogy do not live in the area, the staff of Hawkins Memorial Library will attempt to answer questions received by phone, mail and email. Library staff will look up information if it is impossible for the patron to come to the library. However, the patron will need to furnish the staff with sufficient information to do so. It will then be searched at the staff’s convenience.

The following guidelines apply:

  • Questions must be submitted in writing with a signature.
  • Questions must be specific in nature.
  • Questions must be able to be answered in a relatively short period of time.
  • Patron submitting a request must agree to these terms before the library staff proceeds with any research.

The following restrictions apply:

  • Library staff will not research family histories.
  • Library staff will only accept five requests (or names) at a time.

The fees will be:

  • $15.00 per hour, with a minimum charge of one hour, regardless of whether any actual information is located.
  • $.25 per page for photo copies
  • $1.00 per page for microfilm copies
  • Postage

Payment for these services must:

  • Be received prior to sending out any information
  • Must be in cash or money order

Use of Microfilm Machine

Patrons are expected to use the microfilm machine properly. If patrons need assistance, they should ask library staff to show them how to use the equipment. An instruction booklet is located on the machine cart shelf. Patrons will be asked to pay for any damage they cause to the equipment.

The microfilm machine is available on a “first-come, first-served” basis. If another patron is waiting to use the machine, a time limit of one hour will be enforced.

From a library who requested name be withheld

Our “Patron Assistance Policy” is for all reference questions, but it was developed in response to requests for genealogy research.  It says:

Requests from Out of State
Telephone and email requests from out of state will be given a lower priority than requests from local residents.  The library reserves the right to decline requests from out-of-state residents for in-depth research.

Requests which are accepted from out-of- state users will be subject to a charge of $25.00 per hour to answer reference questions, plus 15 cents per page for printing or photocopying, and the actual postage costs incurred when answering such requests. A minimum of one hour will be charged. Out-of- state patrons will be sent a bill for the costs incurred along with instructions for payment.

In practice, if we can answer find the answer to the question in 15 minutes or less and respond to the request by email or telephone, there is no charge.  If it is going to take more than 15 minutes of staff time, or if we have to mail photocopies, then we charge.

 

Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales fighting to bring the History, Mystery, Magic and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation.Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. She is currently acting President of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Legacy and Research Association. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

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trundlebedtales

Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales striving to bring the History, Mystery, Magic and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

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