Ever had to choose between attending two fantastic genealogy conferences? In 2015, your choice will be easier: RootsTech and the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) will host events in the same time and place: the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. Mark your calendars and make your hotel reservations early for February 12-14, 2015!
Never been to either of these events?
- RootsTech is a mammoth event hosted by the folks at FamilySearch. There’s lots of genealogy education but the primary focus is one I love: harnessing advances in technology to better help us discover and share family history.
- FGS helps genealogical societies strengthen and grow by providing events and online resources. Their annual conference is a 4-day event with tons of excellent lectures, including a full day on society management topics.
According to a press release from FGS, “With the Salt Palace Convention Center as the common venue, both FamilySearch and FGS are committed to producing a one-of-a-kind genealogy event addressing the educational needs of the family history, technology and genealogical society communities. As the logistics of this sizeable event are still being worked out, both FGS and FamilySearch will work together to share resources and provide cost benefits for all parties, including attendees and exhibitors. Attendees can expect to see familiar elements of previous FGS and RootsTech events including keynote presentations, a Society Showcase and Expo Hall.”
The biggest family history library in the world just got a new boss! Diane Loosle is the new Director of the flagship Family History Library (FHL) in Salt Lake City, Utah, and the first woman to hold this job. She has exciting ambitions for the FHL and I look forward to seeing how they unfold.
Diane mentions three specific goals she’ll focus on between now and the end of 2014:
- “Become more family and youth-oriented through providing interactive, discovery experiences.
- Enhance the services of the library through new collaborative research areas and better access to research staff.
- Engage more patrons from the geographic community surrounding the library.”
As an example of the first objective, a FamilySearch press release says Loosle wants to “study the role of the Family History Library and 4,700 satellite branches worldwide…and how to make them discovery centers for people of all ages, not just a research facility.”
“Our centers are great places to do genealogical research,” Loosle says. “[But] we need to figure out how to balance the needs of researchers while increasing appeal to those with other family history interests. You can’t attract a younger audience and offer the same experiences. We need to offer fun experiences and activities for the entire family that will increase love, appreciation, and understanding of their ancestors.”
I admit I’ve wondered about the future of satellite family history centers as increasingly folks stay home to research online. So I look forward to seeing how she will reinvent these community resources to serve today’s (and tomorrow’s) genealogical researchers.
Loosle comes to this job with great credentials. She is an accredited genealogist who has been with FamilySearch for 19 years, where she championed new customer service initiatives. She also has an MBA, strong business and leadership skills. She is described by a senior executive at FamilySearch as “one of the most qualified and capable to ever serve in this position.”
Congratulations, Diane! We look forward to seeing what’s coming next.