On July 18 the Family History Center in the David O. McKay Library will be closing their doors.
Laurie Francis, the Head University Librarian, said while the Family History Center is shutting down, the materials and resources they have will be moved to the Rexburg Family History Center across the street from the Madison County Library and behind the Tabernacle.
She said the decision was influenced partly because the school does not have any on campus family history programs and partly because so many resources went online.
“There were fewer students that had physical needs to come into the center,” Francis said. “They were doing things online using online resources to fill their assignments.”
Elder John Pierce, the Family History Center Director, said he feels the change was made because the Church is adding more emphasis on family history within the stake level.
Francis said the service missionaries called to work at the BYU-I Family History Center will be released at the end of July.
Deborah Reed, an Academic Support Center office assistant, said the space will be used for two classrooms which will operate as tutoring centers.
“We need the space,” Reed said. “We’re really excited.”
Francis was not as excited when she heard the news.
“I was disappointed,” Francis said. “It’s been a great resource to have it here in the library because not only do the students use it, employees use it and local community patrons use it. The library has a lot of materials that are valuable for family history research.”
Francis said that while the Family History Center will no longer be in the library, it is not gone forever.
“Students here who maybe thought, ‘Oh yeah I’m gonna go over there and have a look at what they’ve got’ and now it’s gone, I hope they wouldn’t say ‘Oh well I lost my chance’ because they haven’t, it’s just a few more blocks downtown,” Francis said.
Pierce said students would often use the Family History Center in between classes.
They would have a few minutes to stop by and get a name before their next class started.
He said they also held meetings every Sunday at the Crossroads, but those will not continue after the end of the semester.
“This is the Lord’s work, and it will work out in the end,” Pierce said. “We may not always understand it, but it will work out.”
Christa Badoni, a patron of the Family History Center and a senior studying business management, said she hated that the Family History Center will not be on campus anymore.
“That means that there isn’t enough people doing the work to justify the need for all those missionaries, which is incredibly sad,” Badoni said. “The resources here are amazing.”
Some students think students won’t ever go to the Rexburg Family History Center now.
“No one’s gonna ever go,” said Olivia Seamons, a sophomore studying sociology. “If it’s far away, most people don’t have cars. If they’re not gonna come here on campus, they’re a lot less likely to go down there.”
Others feel there was a good reason for the move.
“They probably just want the family history library to be more available to the general population and not just the school,” said Ellie Gale, a freshman studying child development.