FW: My Trip to Salt Lake City
- I know that we've had various talks and Chinook articles over the years on
this topic - but perhaps there's something in Glenn's account that is new
and important to someone. I've snipped out the final portion that only
pertains to Mennonite records.
Judith Rempel, Webster
From: ep@... [mailto:ep@...]On Behalf Of Glenn H.
Penner, Guelph, ON
Sent: Saturday, May 17, 2003 4:25 PM
Subject: My Trip to Salt Lake City
My Trip to Salt Lake City
I was able to visit the Family History Library (FHL) in Salt Lake City (SLC)
from the evening of Thu. May 1 to the evening of Sat. May 3 (2003). What
follows are a few of my observations and some comments that might be of use
to those who visit the FHL in SLC in the future.
An overview of the Facilities:
- do not worry too much about not finding a microfilm viewer. If
your local FHL is like mine, it is standard procedure to book a viewer ahead
of time, since there never seem to be enough good viewers available. At the
FHL in SLC this is not a consideration as there are hundreds of viewers
available and viewers can not be booked ahead of time.
- microfilm photocopiers are a different story. Even though the FHL
was not too busy when I was there, the printers were always busy after about
9:00 am. Also, as soon as you have the copier set up to make some copies
there may be an impatient person waiting behind you. Printing costs were 23
cents (US) per page for microfilms and 5 cents for a regular photocopy.
Photocopy cards could be purchased from a machine next to the copiers. There
are microfilm copiers on all of the floors that have microfilm viewers.
- If you have dozens of pages to copy and do not want to annoy the
people waiting for you to get off of the copier, you can use the microfilm
scanner. This will also save you lots of money if you want to copy many
pages (e.g. a section of a church register or census). All you have to do is
purchase a CD that is preformatted to be compatible with their scanning
software ($1.50 US) and book a half hour time slot on the scanner. It will
take you about 10 min. to get set up the first time, so have your microfilm
ready to put on to the scanner (don't waste your time looking for the
information on the microfilm reel while on the scanner). I managed to scan
50 pages in about 20 minutes. You can book only one time slot per day, but
there are scanners on floors B1 and B2 that you can book. Also if the
scanner is not being used you can use it for the remaining time in that half
hour slot. One problem is that there are no facilities to print out any of
your scans in order to check the contrast and digital resolution. You can do
this at a Kinkos, which is a several blocks away.
- The staff on the floor are very helpful. The more experienced
staff are obviously experts and know exactly what they are doing.
Unfortunately, most visitors quickly realize this and these people end up
being very busy and difficult to access. On the other hand the younger staff
(who seem to be normally put in charge of the copiers, scanners, ordering
from the vault, etc.), although very eager, are also very inexperienced.
Many of the regular patrons know more about the equipment than these staff.
- The main floor of the FHL has a lunch room with vending machines
that dispense all kinds of non-caffeinated beverages, sandwiches, yogurt,
candy, etc. There are also microwave ovens in the lunch room.
- For those of us who are addicted to caffeine the choices are to
bring a thermos along for quick coffee/tea breaks in the lunch room or
outside (which is what I did) or visit the restaurant next door.
- One thing that no one told me about, and that I found out quite
accidentally, was that there is a cafeteria hidden in the basement of one of
the administration buildings about a block away from the FHL. This cafeteria
is set up primarily for employees of the LSD complex and is heavily
subsidized. One can eat a huge lunch for about $5. If you are visiting on a
Mon. through Fri. just request a meal ticket from the person at the desk
beside the entrance to the FHL. The hours are 11:30 to 1:30.
- do not worry too much about leaving your things behind if you want
to take a half hour break to stretch your legs or grab some lunch. Although
I would not recommend that people leave purses, laptops and other valuable
behind, I frequently saw unattended laptops and other possessions. I got the
impression that thefts were very rare in the FHL.
Things to do ahead of time:
- look up the microfilms you need on the LDS web page at:
http://www.familysearch.org/eng/Library/FHLC/frameset_fhlc.asp This is also
true for books, etc. If you already have the call numbers of some of the
films and/or books that you are interested in before you go, you'll save a
lot of precious time.
- when you find a microfilm that has the word VAULT associated with
it you must order this film in advance. These are films that are less
frequently used and are stored in the vault. It is best to FAX in the
numbers for any vault films at least 3 days before you arrive. I ordered
several microfilms from the vault on Thursday night, after I discovered that
they were not in the stacks. Because there is no vault retrieval on
weekends, I was told on Friday afternoon that they would not be available
until Monday afternoon (after I had left).
Hotels, Restaurants and Transportation:
- There are many hotels and motels in SLC. The closest is 2 doors
down from the FHL. You will find all of the familiar names within about 2
miles (less that 30 min. walk) of the FHL. I go to several conferences
across North America every year and, by comparison, hotel rates in SLC are
- There are also quite a few restaurants nearby, but many are closed
on Sunday (much like the city I live in).
- if you fly into SLC you can rent a car or take the bus downtown. I
took the bus, which runs regularly and gets you into the downtown area in
10-15 min. I saw no busses on Sunday and did not see any Sunday schedules on
the route schedules.