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Family History Library reopens after long pandemic closure

Posted at 12:39 PM, Jul 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-06 14:39:17-04

SALT LAKE CITY — After being closed for more than a year, the FamilySearch Family History Library reopened Tuesday in downtown Salt Lake City.

With the library closed in March 2020 due to the pandemic, the library was able to complete renovations without having to worry about interrupting guests.

Since 1985 in its current building, the library has been a place where people can come to explore the past.

"We really are all about connecting families globally,” said David Rencher, Director of the Family History Library.

The facility is also a location to find long lost loved ones.

“There are a lot of people trying to connect with family that they haven’t been able to connect with before, or people in their ancestry that they simply didn’t know and didn’t know their stories, and when they learn these unique fabulous stories, it’s very touching, it’s very personal,” said Rencher.

Rencher says it has been a long wait for library staff to reconnect with people face-to-face.

"To be able to be back here now, and to be able to interface with our guest in person, we’ve been doing online consultations and all that kind of thing and trying to keep up, but to actually be able to do it in person again, it’s just fabulous,” said Rencher

Now, as guests walk inside, they’ll notice newly-organized research materials, upgraded technology, desktop book scanners, more room for interactive experiences, and more than 300 staff and volunteers ready to help.

“People today, with DNA test and all that kind of thing, there are a lot of new stories to tell, and to learn and things to uncover in your family history, and so we’re here to help you,” said Rencher.

Through July 9, the first 50 people to visit each day will receive a gift, and the library is also giving away treats in the afternoon.