Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Value of a Library Card: 2015

It's National Library Week so I thought I would update a post I wrote in 2012

I conduct a lot of genealogy research from the comfort of my home computer. One of the key resources I use is my St. Louis County Public Library Card. (Other library systems, as well as some genealogy societies, provide similar resources for their users.)

Here's a sampling of databases I can search/browse from the comfort of my home, for free (complete list)

I have indicated the subscription price I'd have to pay without the library card
  • ($100/6 mos)
  • AccessibleArchives: African American Newspapers 19th century ($60/year*)
  • AcessibleArchives: Civil War – A Newspaper Perspective ($60/year*)
  • Fold3 ($80/year)
  • Newsbank: St. Louis Post Dispatch (1981-Current) ($200/yr**)
  • Newsbank: Access World News (1978-current) ($200/yr**)
Databases only available to libraries and other institutions - not by individual subscription
  • AlexanderStreet: American Civil War Research Database
  • AlexanderStreet: American Civil War Letters and Diaries
  • ProQuest: Historical New York Times (1851-2011) 
  • ProQuest: Historical St. Louis Post Dispatch (1874-1922) 
  • ProQuest Digital Microfilm - St. Louis Post Dispatch 1989-Present 
  • ProQuest Digital Sanborn Maps 1867-1970 Missouri and Illinois
  • Gale Cengage: Nineteenth Century US Newspapers
  • EBSCOhost: Academic Search Elite (1985-current)
While not genealogy-related I also value the following two resources:
And while I can't access it from home, it is available to me at the library:
So calculating only the databases which I could purchase access to as an individual, I am saving $1,144/year with my library card. Then there are the databases I can't purchase access to as an individual.

And this doesn't include the resources, in addition to Ancestry, available to me when I actually visit the library. Including:
I know I am lucky to live in St. Louis, as not every library has equivalent resources. However, if you don't check, you won't know what your library has to offer.

* The annual subscription provides access to all of the AccessibleArchives collections, which includes several others in addition to the ones listed above.
** The annual subscription at NewsBank's provides access to a large number of newspapers, but there is a North American focus, and there is a 500 article limit.

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