Monday, June 26, 2017

The End of Microfilm Lending

Microfilm Aisle at Family History Library, Salt Lake
In case you missed this announcement yesterday, there was big news coming from FamilySearch. They will no longer be lending microfilm to local Family History Centers or affiliate libraries come September 1st. It is the end of the microfilm era for researchers. While not unexpected, I am surprised to hear this now. I had expected it to come about in about a year or so. FamilySearch is digitizing all of their records and has a large amount (over 1.5 million!) done. They expect to have all records digitized by 2020. Also, the manufacturers of microfilm are closed or closing down and they can't get more of the blank material to create microfilms. While I'm sad to see an era pass, I am excited about the new developments and can't wait to see what happens next!

Below is the full announcement copied from our friends at FamilySearch for your reference:

Family History Microfilm Discontinuation

On September 1, 2017, FamilySearch will discontinue its microfilm distribution services.  (The last day to order microfilm will be on August 31, 2017.)
The change is the result of significant progress made in FamilySearch’s microfilm digitization efforts and the obsolescence of microfilm technology.
• Online access to digital images of records allows FamilySearch to reach many more people, faster and more efficiently.
• FamilySearch is a global leader in historic records preservation and access, with billions of the world’s genealogical records in its collections.
• Over 1.5 million microfilms (ca. 1.5 billion images) have been digitized by FamilySearch, including the most requested collections based on microfilm loan records worldwide.
• The remaining microfilms should be digitized by the end of 2020, and all new records from its ongoing global efforts are already using digital camera equipment.
• Family history centers will continue to provide access to relevant technology, premium subscription services, and digital records, including restricted content not available at home.
Digital images of historical records can be accessed today in 3 places on under Search.
• Records include historical records indexed by name or organized with an image browse.
• Books include digital copies of books from the Family History Library and other libraries.
• Catalog includes a description of genealogical materials (including books, online materials, microfilm, microfiche, etc.) in the FamilySearch collection.
When approved by priesthood leaders, centers may continue to maintain microfilm collections already on loan from FamilySearch after microfilm ordering ends. Centers have the option to return microfilm that is available online or otherwise not needed. As more images are published online, centers may reevaluate whether to retain microfilm holdings.

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