Saturday, December 8, 2007

Dear Genea-Man: How do I access this book?

Dear Genea-Man,

I understand the SLC FHL will not lend books. I don't think the Chula Vista Library would have the following book. How do I obtain an interlibrary loan (or find out if it is available re interlibrary loan)? John Mallet, the Huguenot, and Descendants. Author: Anna S. Mallett. Publication: Harrisburg Publishing Company, 1895.

Dear Colleague,

Just ten years ago, Inter-library loan was about your only option, it seemed. Now, there are more options, including:

1) Chula Vista Public Library has an Inter-library loan (ILL) service. You can find out which libraries hold a certain book by using Scroll down to the Search Box. You can input "john mallett" or "anna s mallett" and find matches for the book you want. Click on one of the matches, and you will get a list of libraries that have the book you want. You could print this off and take it to the CVPL and get an inter-library loan. I don't know what the ILL fee is now, but it's reasonable.

2) Another option is to check the LDS Family History Library Catalog (FHLC) at I chose an author search, and input "mallett" for the surname and "anna" for the given name in the search box. A page with a list of her single book - the one you want - came up. I clicked on the book title, and got a "Title Detail" page about the book, which is on the shelf at the FHL in Salt Lake City. They also have the book available for loan on a microfilm - click on the "View Film Notes" in the upper right hand corner. The film number for this book is FHL US/CAN Film 0,982,137 Item 3. You can print that page off (use the printable version link), and take it to the FHC down in Mission Valley and order the microfilm for $6.25 rental fee.

3) Some books in the FHLC are now available online. For the John Mallett book, there is a link on the "Title Detail" page that says "To view a digital version of this book, click here." If you click on this, it takes you to a book in the BYU Family History Archive at This is a digitized version of this book, page by page. You can print the pages on your home printer, or save them to your computer, or just read them online.

4) If you want some pages from a database, book or microform at the LDS Family History Library, you can print out the form here and submit it by mail to the Family History Library. You will need specific pages, book call numbers, microform number and item, but it can be done for a price. Obviously, you can get many microforms at the FHC on rental and copy pages yourself, but for those resources not on microform, this service beats a trip to Salt Lake City. Thanks DearMYRTLE for the suggestion.

5) Google Books ( ) has only a "snippet" view of pages from this book. has the complete book on their subscription side.

There are other web sites with digitized out-of-copyright books on the Internet.

As we can see, there are several good choices that genealogy researchers can make to find published works, especially those published before 1923.

UPDATED 9 PM: Drew Smith suggested I use the simpler for the Catalog - done! Thanks, Drew.

DearMYRTLE suggested that pages from books or microforms can be ordered from the Family History Library using forms found here. In my 20 years of going to the FHC, I've never used this service, nor was I aware of it. I could not find that web page by browsing through the site (even using the Site Map). They have hidden it very well! Thanks MYRT!


Drew Smith said...

Randy, a shorter and easier to remember URL for Worldcat is "".

DearMYRTLE said...

From my blog posting:

"GENEA-MUSINGS’ blogger Randy Seaver wrote in How do I access this book? providing a thoughtful reply to a reader in search of a book on the shelf at the Family History Library. Since the FHL does not circulate books, Randy discusses four great alternatives for locating a copy of the book. Failing these other suggestion, might Ol' Myrt here add there is the option of using the Request for Photocopies – (…Books…) form. Due to copyright, the entire book cannot be copied, but after requesting a copy of the index mentioning an ancestor using the form, one can then submit a second request for the content pages referenced in the index."

(Links work in the blog entry form of this comment.)

Lee said...

I didn't know about the service either until dearMyrtle wrote about it in response to your posting. So I thank you for starting the conversation that brought it to light. :-)