The FamilySearch Library of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, located in Salt Lake City, Utah, just west of Temple Square, is the largest genealogical library in the world. Up until January 10, 2023, the FamilySearch Library was known as the Family History Library.
Historyfamily history work. The answer lies mostly in the vicarious work done in Latter-day Saint temples. Through family history work, members can find the names of ancestors for whom they can receive the ordinances necessary for salvation.
The Family History Library was founded in 1894 to gather genealogy and help members of the Church do their family history work. Like any other library, it is open to the public at no charge, and 1,900 people or more visit the library every day. The library grew quickly from its start in 1894 and by 1938, the new technology known as microfilm was introduced at the library. The Family History Library now houses over 2.4 million rolls of microfilm records.
The library began as a public institution, but in 1944, it became completely funded by the Church. In the 1960s, Church leaders saw that computer technology would be beneficial in record keeping. They hired computer experts and bought a computer. By this time space was becoming limited. In 1963, the Church completed the Granite Mountain Records Vault, in the mountains of the Salt Lake Valley, which became the storage facility for master copies of genealogical records. It was built with the best preservation in mind, and is designed to withstand even a nuclear blast.
The library's collection and number of patrons has continued to grow. In 1980 plans to build a 142,000 square foot library with five floors was announced. The building was designed specifically to control humidity, temperature, and lighting in order to protect the collection from deterioration. On October 23, 1985, the new building was dedicated and opened to the public.
The Family History Library near Temple Square closed its doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic and 16 months later, July 6, 2021, the doors were again opened to patrons. During those 16 months, the library was remodeled. Among the changes are different floor arrangements, updated workstations, better lighting (but low lighting is still available for reading microfilm), an expanded break room, and added books and bookshelves.
The FamilySearch Library
The FamilySearch Library houses the largest collection of genealogical materials in the world. The collection consists of books, periodicals, maps, pedigree charts, CD-ROMs, microfilms, and microfiche pertaining to genealogical and historical research that will help bring your ancestors and their stories to life. Some items are contractually restricted and only available at the FamilySearch Library.
The library has obtained most of its records in the form of microfilm. Volunteers are currently filming records in over 40 countries. Some records are donated and others, such as Census Records, are purchased. More is available at the FamilySearch Library than can be found online on the Church's Family Search website.
The Riverton Utah FamilySearch Library
The library and its resources are available free to the public (a small fee may be incurred for computer printing or photocopies). Patrons are invited to participate in free training and research classes. In fact, the library is equipped with a state-of-the-art computer training lab and four multipurpose training rooms.