As we all adjust to the “new normal,” Special Collections & Archives has been working to provide as many remote reference options as possible, while also protecting the health and safety of our employees and our patrons. You may have already read Finley’s wonderful blog post on “Genealogy in the Time of Covid” which highlights the ways in which we have been answering specific genealogy questions located on microfilm. Moving forward, we have brainstormed and are implementing additional options for researchers.
External researchers interested in using our Baptist collections now have the option to view specific microfilm reels at the North Carolina Room at the Forsyth County Public Library. Archivist Karen Feeney has graciously offered to host our researchers who can travel to Winston-Salem to look through the reels themselves. Simply email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to take advantage of this option and we will work with FCPL to schedule an appointment for you.
In addition to the reels we have, we are assisting patrons to find copies of the materials at other repositories. Although the majority of our microfilm is unique to us, some were purchased from the State Archives of NC, while others from the Southern Baptist Historical Library and Archives (SBHLA) in Nashville. If another repository has a copy of our records, we can point you in that direction as well. We are doing our best to provide as many options to our patrons to access copies of their unique family history.
Don’t forget we have thousands of books, boxes, papers, and materials that are not on microfilm! We will be answering questions through our traditional email format, but we have also started chat reference which will include evening and weekend hours we have not offered in the past. Because of the in-depth nature of the research questions that come our way, we tend to have a lot of back and forth in our reference interviews. To assist this process, we will offer Zoom reference for patrons to talk through their reference questions as we had done in person in the past. Finally, we will be offering in-person appointments limited to WFU faculty, staff, and students. In anticipation of these visits, we have outlined some new safety measures for our patrons. All of these new policies and procedures can be found on our Remote Reference page.
We look forward to assisting our remote researchers in a variety of ways. For the folks accessing church microfilm, we believe the options we are providing will lead you to success in your research goals. And for on-campus WFU faculty, staff, and students, we hope to answer your questions while also prioritizing the health and safety of everyone involved. Thank you all for your continued enthusiasm for our collections and your patience during these new times.