With so much information available online, it’s easy to forget the wealth of publications that are only available in print or on microfilm and that can often be found at libraries.
I find it helpful to prepare before visiting a library, otherwise I become overwhelmed with all the choices when I get there. Most libraries today have online catalogs, which has made preparation much easier. One can do a keyword search on “genealogy” or similar words and review the available books before visiting the physical location. In addition to generic searches, I also keep look up references that I find in online research to see if the book is in any of the local libraries, and if so, which is the closest to me.
To keep up my future research organized, I’ve started a list of all the books I want to look at. It’s a simple spreadsheet with the following headings: Title, Author, Call Number, Library. When I get ready to visit a particular library, I can filter the list by the library name, and print it out to take with me.
With a little advance preparation, I can be focused and make the most of my time, rather than wandering aimlessly through the stacks.