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PRESS RELEASE

Linda Wilson
Public Relations
Birmingham Public Library
(205) 226-3746
lwilson@bham.lib.al.us

Library Offers Instant Messaging Service for Genealogists

June 21, 2007, Birmingham—To better serve the ever-increasing number of researchers who use its collections, the Birmingham Public Library now offers an instant messaging reference service for genealogists to communicate in real-time with librarians. Librarians can answer short, factual questions concerning family history or give advice on how to proceed with research.

The Birmingham Public Library’s Tutwiler Collection of Southern History and Literature serves hundreds of genealogists each year, and that number is increasing as people become more interested in tracing family history.

The Southern History Collection offers everything from published family histories to clippings from local newspapers dating between 1930 and 1980. Patrons can access information about the genealogy collection, including the new instant messaging service, at http://www.bplonline.org/sou/

Yvonne Crumpler, Head of the Southern History Department, is confident this new service will increase accessibility to the Library’s genealogical collection, making it easier for researchers to plan their visits. “Genealogists like the idea of being able to ‘talk’ in real time,” she said, “and they will use instant messaging to find out if we have certain resources before they come in to do research.”

Southern History Librarians are available to answer questions from 1:00 to 4:00 pm, Monday through Friday. Although instant messaging is only available for the Southern History Department currently, the Birmingham Public Library plans to expand it to other departments in the near future.

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