Helping Patrons Find Their Roots: A Genealogy Handbook for Librarians. By Janice Lindgren Schultz. Chicago, IL: ALA, 2018.240 p. Paper $59.00 (ISBN-13:978-0-8389-1644-5).

Janice Lindgren Schultz had a distinguished career at one of the most well-known genealogical libraries in the United States. Her years at the Midwest Genealogy Center in Independence, Kansas, more than prepared her to write Helping Patrons Find Their Roots: A Genealogy Handbook for Librarians. Schultz focuses on all areas of genealogy research and her coverage is exhaustive. She begins with the purposes and methods of research, followed by a detailed consideration of all kinds of records useful to genealogists. She ably explains the importance of the proof and reliability of resources standards used by expert genealogists.

Schulz describes the choices necessary in hiring new staff, describing the dilemma of choosing between an experienced librarian with no knowledge of genealogy or an experienced genealogist who needs training in library procedures. Schulz also offers guidelines for developing genealogy collections. She encourages collecting in-depth local history materials, local vital records, cemetery inventories, church records, and county records of all kinds.

Most public librarians, however, are general information specialists. Their task in serving genealogy researchers is limited to helping them get started by providing resources and teaching basic skills in searching, including both print materials and online databases. Also, Schultz’s extensive “core collection” would require dedication of significant resources. Most local public libraries have broader missions.

This handbook is a perfect resource for experienced librarians with limited knowledge of serious genealogy research who wish to work in genealogical libraries. The information covered is meticulously discussed and could prove to be a valuable resource for a librarian working in this field. However, most of the language in this handbook seems to assume an audience of researchers rather than librarians. Given that, perhaps, its real usefulness would be as part of a basic genealogy collection for customer use.—Kathryn Ramsay, Local History and Genealogy Resources Librarian, Pioneer Library System, Norman, Oklahoma


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