Sometime last year I was speaking with Jess Dowdell who is responsible for community education at Lake Macquarie City Council. Jess indicated that there was a huge interest in family history from people who visit the Lake Mac Libraries and that she would like to organise an introductory course to be delivered through the libraries.
In these days when many people research their family history independently and mostly on the internet they do not belong to local societies but turn to their local libraries for help. Sometimes the local libraries need help in giving appropriate assistance.
As the president of the local family history group at Lake Macquarie I felt that although we could deliver such course it would put a strain on our resources especially during Covid times. I thought that it would be worthwhile to organise such a course through a larger organisation with access to a stable of experienced presenters. I put Jess in contact with the Executive Officer at the Society of Australian Genealogists (The SAG) and they entered into some discussions. As a result Jess, on behalf of Lake Macquarie Council, invited The SAG to deliver a course for them. As a local genie I was included in the event planning via zoom and email and hopefully contributed some useful ideas to the course outline which was curated by Education Officer, Vanessa Cassin, in consultation with SAG Officers.
|Vanessa Cassin, Education Officer from The SAG|
I congratulate Jess on the organization of the event (the afternoon tea was scrumptious) and the airconditioned library with onsite parking and the Library Service’s Family History Collection was a perfect site. Vanessa was a knowledgeable presenter who was able to speak without notes and just a small number of slides that gave structure to her presentation and reinforced her messages to attendees. Vanessa engaged the participants with her warm and friendly manner and she answered questions when they arose thus giving a collaborative element to the presentation. It was not just chalk and talk. Vanessa's presentation was supported by copious notes that were printed and distributed by Council staff.
I was proud to be involved in this collaborative exercise between a local authority, a local family history group and the premium genealogy society in Australia. Now that The SAG has developed this course I hope that other local government bodies or smaller family history groups will work with SAG to deliver this course in person or via Zoom.
|Socially distanced and engaged learners at Speers Point Library|