Gypsy's Travels

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

A Library and a Laptop

I don't have a photo for Wordless Wednesday so I guess this will be a Wordy Wednesday.
I have been in the library for the last two days, the genealogical library in Houston. Clayton Library is one of the top libraries in the country for genealogical research. I hadn't been here for a while, but I used to visit at every opportunity. Now it is a catch as catch can visiting style.

The rules at the Library have changed significantly since I first started using it. The original library was an old house, overflowing at the seams with books and people. Part of the back section of the house was full of books that we were allowed to access ourselves, as opposed to the "closed stacks" of other libraries, but we were supposed to go back with the filing numbers, pick up the book, then return to our seats. That was an almost impossible task, Almost everyone would peek in the books to see if their long sought names were there. At frequent intervals, a staff member would burst upon the scene and announce, as a reminder, that we were not supposed to look at the books back there. This announcement was punctuated by books being quickly returned to selves and people squeezing by one another in the too-narrow aisles, to carry a books back to their seats. The situation was not ideal, but the information available far outweighed the negatives.

Then, we built a new library. I say "we," because it was a grass roots effort, in conjunction with the Houston Public Library system. Now there is a two story facility that houses a collection that can be browsed to our heart's content. Books, microfilm, microfiche, computers, Internet, access for personal laptops - you name it, they have it. As for the lovely old home that was used to house the books. It was the depository for family histories. Now, it is closed for renovation and the family history books are available in the main building.

I used my laptop to access my genealogy files, while searching through the library books. I was also able to use the laptop to cross-reference files on the Internet. Except for the chattering women behind me, it was a surreal time. I wonder what happened to the library etiquette we learned in school. If you are doing any genealogy, be sure to visit Clayton Library. It is Texas, and user, friendly.


  1. One of these days I'd like to see your files.

  2. This has been refreshing to just read.

    Abraham Lincoln in Brookville, Ohio.


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