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Libraries index How to read a FTS Record Practical tips on the use of Library facilities

Practical tips on the use of library facilities

1. First time visits
2. Access
3. Equipment
4. Do-It-Yourself
5. Writing letters
6. Research services
7. Plan your research
8. Prints from sources
9. Request services

1. First time visits

When visiting a library for the first time, it is essential to contact them in advance to confirm details of their holdings and current opening times.

2. Access

Check on conditions of access. Some libraries, and most record offices, require evidence of identity and address.

3. Equipment

Always book a microfilm or microfiche reader, or computer terminal (if available) before travelling, if a booking facility is available.

4. Do-It-Yourself

Libraries are delighted to welcome you and to provide you with resources, but it is then up to you to do the research. Make a personal visit where possible to the appropriate libraries and record offices.

5. Writing letters

Every library service will provide details of appropriate holdings by post. Most libraries will check a specific reference for you (e.g. an obituary in a newspaper, where name and details of death are known), but do not have the staff time to do much more. Please enclose a stamped addressed envelope.

6. Research services

Some libraries, and most record offices and archive services, provide fee-based research services.

7. Plan your research

Planning your research beforehand by reading resource guides such as those available on The National Archives and the Family Records Centre websites will enable you to plan your research and request specific sources at libraries.

8. Prints from sources

Almost all libraries with sources on microfilm/microfiche (e.g. census, newspapers) can supply copies from them at a charge. Most libraries now provide coin-operated photocopiers, and source material can be copied, as long as the source will not be damaged in the process, and the Copyright Acts will not be contravened.

9. Request services

Although all libraries offer a request service, enabling you to obtain books and periodical articles from other libraries, most family history source material is restricted to reference use only, and cannot usually be borrowed for home reading, or lent to other libraries.