Getting Started with Genealogy

2022 NACo Achievement Award Winner

Miami-Dade County, Fla., FL

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About the Program

Category: Libraries (Best in Category)

Year: 2022

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, all branches of the Miami-Dade Public Library System (MDPLS) closed in March 2020 and reopened, after 3 months, in June 2020. Though physical locations opened, in-person programming was paused indefinitely. To continue offering engaging all-ages programming, programs were created and adapted for a virtual space. The Opa-locka Branch Library developed a virtual programming series, Getting Started with Genealogy, to reach an often-underserved adult audience, especially those older adults who were most vulnerable to the physical and emotional stresses of the pandemic. By crafting this series, staff hoped to develop relationships with physically isolated patrons and residents interested in genealogical and historical research. Together, staff and participants would cultivate a supportive and communal digital space to learn, ask questions, and share successes. Over the course of three months, October to December 2021, the Opa-locka Branch hosted seven programs, each focusing on manageable subjects and themes related to genealogy. Staff heightened their own research skills, especially those related to genealogical research, to inform and promote not only the library’s digital resources but also free and trusted resources from the web. In this way, every participant learned of the building blocks of information and digital literacy.

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