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Reaching Reference Librarians Through Genealogy Webinars

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Kelsey Powell

on 26 January 2014

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Transcript of Reaching Reference Librarians Through Genealogy Webinars

Titles are important
Reaching Reference Librarians Through Genealogy Webinars
Genealogy Topics for Reference Librarians
Online Sources for...
Finding Presenters
Seek out topic experts
Tight Budget? Look local
Extend your reach...
Local historical or genealogical society
Local Family History Center
History professors or students from a nearby college/university
Genealogical Speakers Guild (

Association of Professional Genealogists (
Consult programs from major genealogy conferences (NGS, FGS) for national speakers and topic ideas

Team up with other libraries
Helping Libraries Shine!
Interlibrary Loan & Genealogy
PERSI (Periodical Source Index)
Finding Treasure in Published County Histories, City Directories
What's in your library's collection? (unique resources)
Customized Content
The Final
Practical Considerations
Option 1: Create Your Own Webinars
You can choose:
Targeted topics
Requires time and effort to create
Cost of new software
May be less polished than one from a vendor
Can be tailored to the needs of your audience
Can be re-purposed for patron assistance
How do we create an informative and effective webinar?
Design a quality presentation (keep the content and visuals interesting!)
Recruit both a moderator and a technical troubleshooter to help ensure that everything runs smoothly.
Create effective PR and reminder notices, and include clear instructions on how to connect, best audio practices, webinar etiquette, etc.

Practice beforehand—test your audio, video, and other mechanics
Provide handouts in advance and follow up with a thank you and survey
Smile, have fun, and your participants will too!
Who in your library is interested?
Tips for Webinars that Work
It's all about the audience...
Why should they care?
What is the benefit to your library if the webinar is successful?
Approach each webinar from the audience's perspective.
How much content is too much?
A successful event is the result of careful preparation.
A great webinar is wasted if no one is there to see it.
Your primary purpose is to educate. Create content that is interesting, informative, and engaging...
But . . .
Your secondary purpose may be to
Make it personal -- use the singular "you" when addressing the audience
Record a short one minute video to describe what people will learn in the webinar
Solicit questions in advance and use them to help frame your webinar content
Use examples that may resonate with your audience
Engage your audience with polls and surveys
Emphasize not only the content, but also the personal/professional value

Keep registration simple

Personalize your confirmation and reminder emails
Need help connecting with genealogy patrons?
Databases Explained
Choosing the best topics for your needs
Historical Newspapers
Historical Books
Military Records
Wills & Probate Records
Land Records
City Directories
Genealogy Reference Interview
Make your presentation about the value and use of the data, not about the factual information itself (that's what handouts are for!)
1) Coordinating

2) Marketing

3) Presenting

4) Moderating
Resources for Upcoming & On-Demand Webinars
Making it Happen...
Webinar Software
Adobe Connect - acclaimed as one of the most capable and customizable, but generally one of the most expensive options.
Presentation Tools
Access 400+ donated and discounted products from more than 40 donor partners
Most donations/discounts are available to public libraries with either valid 501(c)(3) status, or listed in the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) database.
Genealogy Providers
Fellow Librarians
Ancestry.com Archived Webinars:
Regional, State & Academic Libraries & Archives
Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree Extension Series
Historical Societies
Wisconsin Historical Society
Illinois, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Utah, and Wisconsin
Handout: Researching Reference Librarians Through Genealogical Webinars
Books I mentioned in my talk
Kolbert, Elizabeth. Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change. New York: Bloomsbury Pub, 2006.
Oreskes, Naomi, and Erik M. Conway. Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming. New York: Bloomsbury Press, 2010.
Speth, James Gustave. The Bridge at the Edge of the World Capitalism, the Environment, and Crossing from Crisis to Sustainability. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2008.

Is the topic suitable for the webinar format?
Is it "need to know" or just "nice to know"?
Will the topic remain relevant?
Are recorded webinars or tutorials already available on this topic?
Is a subject matter expert available to provide content?
Genealogy 101
Basic sources - census,
vital records...
— It should influence everything from the initial planning to content preparation and delivery style.
Too much information causes people to lose focus. Keep it short and stay on point.
Technology for Creating Your Own Genealogy Webinars
GoToMeeting - platform and feature friendly, plus affordable with TechSoup's 80% nonprofit discount
Share Your
(and Failures...)
Use webinars to share tips, as well as successes and failures, with regards to events, programs, activities, etc.
MeetingBurner - Cloud-based webinar software with plans ranging from free with few features to Premiere for $99.95 per month
AnyMeeting - Another option for semi-affordable web conferencing, although limited to 200 attendees.
Google+ Hangouts on Air - free basic web conferencing, screen sharing and chat for up to 10.
WebinarsOnAir - interfaces with Google+ Hangout for a more traditional webinar feel, with recording, interactive polls, etc. Plans range from $20–$100
Helping the Genealogy Patron: A Librarian's Guide www.webjunction.org/documents/pennsylvania/PAdocument43.html
Ohio Library Council Webinar Archive
Online Learning with RUSA
iLibrarian Blog on the Open Education Database
ProQuest Training Webinars:
UK National Archives Webinars:
Legacy Family Tree Webinars:

Friends of the National Archives, Southeast Region – http://friendsnas.org/webinarSch.htm
North Carolina Library Association
“Help! I’m an Accidental Government
Information Librarian” webinar series (archived)
State Library of North Carolina
Washington State Library Ref22 Archives
Nebraska Library Commission
State and Local Genealogical and Historical Societies
Ohio Historical Society
Full transcript