State Archives/Library and Research Room
Also, as part of Let’s Explore Ohio!, the Society renovated the Research Room in the Archives/Library. Over 5,500 visitors conducted research in the Archives/Library in 2011, an increase of 26%. Thanks to recent and continuing improvements, resources are easier to access and accommodations are underway to make the room and its resources more user-friendly. One change moved the reference desk from the back wall to the middle of the room to be more convenient to visitors. In moving the desk the space was redesigned more efficiently to allow more room and better supervised spaces for researchers to examine original documents. In addition to structural improvements, a significant improvement for the Archives/Library is the expansion of the number of days open each week. A year ago, the Research Room was only open one day a week. Now, it is open four days a week, Wednesday through Saturday. “We were able to do this because of the dedication of our employees and because of the support from our volunteers,” said Elizabeth Plummer, Research Services Manager, “When we’re open to the public, there are currently sixteen volunteers who assist the staff. “This makes the room more open and comfortable,” said Plummer. On a recent Friday afternoon approximately twenty people had spread out across the room’s large tables and computer kiosks.
In addition to on-site access, another 11,781 people were served by phone, email or mail communications. Archives/Library patron Linda Carew Ejzak was a finalist in the Society of American Archivists “I Found It in the Archives” contest (http://www2.archivists.org/node/14396).
Resources at the Archives/Library include
- The resources at the Archives/Library are readily available at no charge to the public. “We collect the records that document the lives of Ohioans, and we have people from all over the world come to do research here,” said Plummer. “That’s what we’re about: sharing the records and documents of Ohio’s history with the world. There are ‘ah-ha’ moments discovered here every day.”
- 300,000 volumes
- 8,500 cubic feet of photographs and film, which are over 1 million photographic records
- 7,000 collections of manuscripts
- 52,000 microfilm rolls of newspapers, storing newspapers dating from 1793.
- 10,000 microfilm rolls of government records
- 35,000 cubic feet of state and local records
- Over 15,000 maps
Dear Ohio Historical Society,
I am new to the family history experience and I had never been to the Ohio Historical Society before. I found all of the staff extremely helpful. I was able to locate Union Army muster records for my great-grandfather and death records for a number of family members. I needed a lot of assistance with learning how to use the indexing systems and microfilm machines. But the thing that was most powerful for me was the willingness of a library staff member to look up an original document for me.
My aunt died in 1933 at the age of 18 after being hit by an interurban train. Although the record was microfilmed, I could not read the cause of death clearly. So a staff member gladly pulled the original for me. I was able to see what the coroner had written. Although I know what happened, I wanted to have this piece of information. I never met my aunt, but she left a huge hole in my family. Doing this research is a part of putting the pieces together and hopefully healing some old wounds.
I want you to know the full impact of my experience at the historical society that day. I am deeply appreciative of your efforts to maintain this information. As a whole, these records are just a bunch of names and dates, but each of these people has a story, they each mattered to someone, they each left a mark, and they each deserve this work of preservation that you perform, likely with little thanks. So please let me say thank you once more for all that you do.