Monday, October 10, 2011

SAG Library Orientation

As I have been a member of SAG (The Society of Australian Genealogists) on and off since 1998 it is embarrassing to admit that I only made it to the Society for a Library Orientation tour today. I have been to the society's other location on a number of occasions to attend seminars and Sydney TMG user group meetings  and to deliver a couple of lectures. I have also attended the society's first paid webinar and have registered for others.

Before the Library moved to its new location four years ago I had been an irregular visitor to the old library but I haven't visited since it moved to its Kent Street, Sydney, Location. There are a number of  excuses reasons for this. Until my recent retirement I didn't have time to visit the library during the week and I tried to keep weekends for family. I also have a little mobility issue that makes the walk from the railway station difficult and parking near the society is quite costly. I bit the bullet a few weeks ago and registered for the free members only orientation session via the society's website.

Today I joined seven other women and one man for the talk by Lorraine Brothers, the friendly SAG librarian, who made us feel most welcome. Lorraine spent nearly two hours describing the library's cataloguing system, telling us about the range of resources available, showing us where they were stored and  demonstrating the use of the library catalogue that is available in the SAG library. This is a more comprehensive catalogue than that available online offsite. To assist us on future visits Lorraine gave us a link to a 2007 journal article Finding your way around the new SAG Library as well as a couple of handouts.
Lorraine Brothers - SAG Librarian
I do find some of the rules and regulations at the SAG library a bit restrictive but, if I want to use the great collection of resources including many Australian family histories, will  have to live with them. It's a shame that we couldn't stay on the put our new knowledge into practice but the orientation has to be held on a day that the library is closed.

Lorraine coped admirably with the group that was made up of absolute beginners and more advanced researchers (and graciously allowed me to take her photo). Even though I have qualifications as a librarian and worked in the library field for many years I still find visiting a new library daunting. Each institution has its idiosyncrasies,  the SAG classification system that had been a mystery to me is one of these. Thanks to Lorraine I now have an understanding of this system.  

By offering this orientation to members SAG is ensuring that new library users have an opportunity to be confident library users. Thanks, SAG, for this initiative and Lorraine for being such a great ambassador for the society and the profession of librarianship.

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