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Friday, 7 April 2017

Libraries NI ends access to Ancestry Library Edition

Ancestry's Library Edition is no longer available in
Northern Ireland's public libraries.
Family historians in Northern Ireland who have been accustomed to using Ancestry's database at their local library are going to be in for a shock when they drop in for their next research session.

Against the backdrop of ever tighter budgets, Libraries NI has not renewed its Ancestry subscription and access to the Library Edition has now ceased across the entire library network.

A Libraries NI spokesperson told Irish Genealogy News: “I can confirm that Libraries NI has taken the decision not to renew the Ancestry service from 1 April 2017 as a result of an overall review of online services. In the coming months Libraries NI will be considering the ways in which we can support customers with an interest in genealogy.

"Libraries NI offers a wide range of resources that are of benefit to historians, researchers, genealogists, students and those who have an interest in cultural and community life, past or present. Our main heritage collections are located in Armagh City, Ballymena Central, Belfast Central, Derry Central, Downpatrick, Enniskillen, Newry City and Omagh libraries and in the Mellon Centre for Migration Studies (MCMS). Heritage exhibitions and events take place throughout the year and include talks, family history fairs, family history workshops and book launches.”

Decisions such as these are usually taken very reluctantly by library services. And reluctant decisions can be overturned when they provoke a strong negative reaction from users. If you're a Northern Ireland-based researcher and a regular library user, why not voice your concerns and have a moan about how it will impact you and other family historians, especially beginners?  Complaints in writing are more likely to reach those that have the authority to overturn this decision, so use the online feedback form on the Libraries NI site or write to the organisation's HQ at Lisburn City Library (address is on the same page) or drop a note round to your local library.

(Many thanks to Robin Gourley for informing me about this development.)