, Muskogee, OK

March 23, 2007

New genealogy room attracts many users

By Cathy Spaulding

Stacks of books surrounded Vian resident Susie Stout as she delved into her family history at Muskogee Public Library’s new genealogy room.

She said she was glad the new room has so much space.

“I love the room,” she said. “It’s bigger, it’s lighter and I can spread out my stuff.”

The new genealogy room, located in former meeting rooms on the first floor, has nearly twice the space as the old room, located in the Grant Foreman Room on the second floor, Head Librarian Jan Bryant said. The Grant Foreman Room now is used for meetings, she said.

The library opened the new genealogy room last month and has attracted a lot of users, Bryant said. She said she has seen as many as 12 people in the room at a time.

The new room has space for three tables and a desk, while the old room barely had room for a table, she said. The old room was too small for all the historic and genealogical records, many of which ended up being stored in one corner of the library, Bryant said.

Shelves that move as a unit allow for even more space in the new room, she said. The shelving units are on a track that allow them to move back and forth at the push of a button. The units can spread out or move close together, like an accordion. Shelving units can be flush next to each other and can spread apart when researchers need something on those shelves, Bryant said.

The system allows more shelves and more materials in a limited space, she said.

The new room also has hookups for laptop computers, Bryant said.

People using the genealogy room Thursday said it’s better than the dark Grant Foreman room.

“This is my first time in here since it’s been open, and there’s light overhead. I can see. I don’t feel like I’m in a dungeon,” said Ellen Marmor, who was researching history of Muskogee’s Kendall neighborhood, where she lives.

The genealogy room features past issues of the Muskogee Phoenix and other historic newspapers on microfilm. It also has books of Muskogee history.

The room also has history books and genealogical records of other Oklahoma communities, even other states and countries.

Bryant said the library has a whole bank of computers, allowing online access to such genealogy sites as HeritageQuest and, as well as free access to Daily Oklahoman archives.

“Anything you want to research, it’s here,” said Librarian Treasa Wolf.