52 Weeks To Better Genealogy - Challenge #2

The challenge:  Go to your local public library branch again. Examine the local history, archives and/or special collections section. Ask a librarian if you don’t know if your library has special collections or where they are located. Be sure to check the reference section, too, as many of the newer and more valuable books are held in that area. If you have a genealogy blog, write about what you find in your library’s local history and special collections.

The Joel D. Valdez Library is Tucson, Arizona’s main library branch.  Located at 101 North Stone Avenue, the library is in the heart of downtown Tucson.  The library offers an online catalog that links all of the library branches and resources.  Items of interest may be transferred within the library system enabling all patrons’ equal access to materials.    This library participates in the interlibrary loan for books and for newspapers available on microfilm.   The main branch has three floors.  Each floor has a photocopier and computers available for use.  

The library is home to the Cele Peterson Arizona Collection and the Steinheimer Collection.  The Cele Peterson Collection contains over 7000 books relating to Arizona. The Steinheimer Collection is a collection of children’s literature that focuses on the Southwestern history and geography.   The Cele Peterson and Steinheimer Collections are located in the closed stacks on the third floor. 

The genealogy section of the library consists of a few reference books and family histories.  A family history located is Ana Carolina Castillo Crim’s De Leo'n, a Tejano family history.  The book has several sourced records including original sources for marriages, births and deaths.  It also references several published and a few unpublished works.  Several town and county histories are available at the downtown branch.  A history of Oro Valley, Arizona: (1974-1999) by Henry Souzzi was located in the reference section of the library.  

            The library subscribes to more than 900 periodicals.  Roughly 100 of the subscriptions are related to newspapers.  Only current newspapers are kept at the library.   Family Tree Magazine is the only  genealogical magazine that the library subscribes to.   

There are numerous databases available for library patrons.  Two databases are suggested for genealogy,  HertitageQuest Online which also allows access to PERSI and the Biography Resource Center.   Additional online databases include information on everything from auto repair to world religions.  Most of the databases can be accessed from home to patrons with a current library card.  

            Early newspapers are available on microfilm.  The earliest newspaper available is the Weekly Arizonian which was published from March 1859 to September 2, 1861.  Also available are the Tucson Citizen from March 1879 to June 2008 and the Arizona Daily Star from March 1880 to April 2008. 
            The library offers numerous resources that may be utilized by a genealogist.  There is an outdated clipping file of Tucsonans available.  Numerous types of maps are available for review to help pinpoint cemeteries, land ownership, changes during different time periods.  The reference section hosts several gazetteers and historical atlas for research.  The Atlas of Early American History:  the Revolutionary era, 1760-1790 provides maps of the areas where the Revolutionary War was fought and how boundaries changed during that era.   Reference materials are available for history, social history, culture, regional resources, and numerous other topics that may peak a genealogists curiosity.


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