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Genealogy & Local History Services

If you plan on visiting our genealogical and local history collection in person,
you must make an appointment, as staffing and hours are limited. Please call us at 309-543-4701 for further information.

Havana Public Library District Genealogical and Local History Collection Policy

As the oldest library in the county, the Havana Public Library District pledges to acquire, safeguard, and promote the use of local historical materials. The Havana Public Library District has created the Genealogical and Local History Collection to fulfil this mission.

The purpose of the Havana Public Library District Genealogical and Local History Collection is to identify, preserve, and make available for research materials of enduring value related to Mason County, Illinois, with special emphasis on Havana and its immediate environs. Materials associated with neighboring counties and the State of Illinois may be included, provided said items contribute to placing Mason County within a historical context. Genealogies and family histories will be collected only for families with a substantial connection to Mason County. The Havana Public Library District Genealogical and Local History Collection encompasses materials in a variety of formats including, but not limited to, books, newspapers on microfilm, directories, yearbooks, maps, atlases, photographs, pamphlets, slides, digital files, and select audiovisual materials when proper storage and playback ability are available. The collection of the Mason County Genealogical & Historical Society is also housed in our facility.

Acquisition of Materials
Materials that meet the above requirements may be added by gift, purchase, or any other transaction by which title passes to the Havana Public Library District. Donations will be accepted provided that (a) there is a signed Gift Agreement Form that legally transfers ownership of the materials to the Havana Public Library District, and (b) the donor does not require restrictions on use.

Deaccessioning of Materials
In order to maintain the quality of the collection, materials may be deaccessioned due to irrelevance, space considerations, duplication (including digital duplication), or condition. Items may be returned to donors, sold, discarded, or offered to other institutions.

Using the Collection
By its very definition, the Havana Public Library District Genealogical and Local History Collection houses rare and often irreplaceable materials. Therefore, materials from this collection do not circulate and must be consulted in the library’s public area in full view of the reference desk. Patrons are not allowed within the closed stacks and filing cabinets that house the collection. Any unauthorized attempt to access these files will be seen as attempted theft; violators will be subject to the consequences outlined in the Havana Public Library District Disruptive Patron policy.

Due to staffing levels and security concerns, all researchers are asked to make an appointment to view items and/or use the microfilm reader. We request that patrons call at least one business day ahead for an appointment (309-543-4701). Please note that retrieval of collections may take up to 15 minutes. Requests for material are accepted until one hour before closing and all material must be returned to the desk fifteen minutes prior to closing.

The Havana Public Library District reserves the right to restrict access to certain collections due to the physical condition of the materials. Materials must be handled with great care; cotton gloves will be provided for handling photographic materials. Only one box, folder, or volume may be used at a time. The rest of the requested materials will be held behind the reference desk. Only approved writing materials (normally pencils or personal computers) may be used for taking notes while using material from the collection. Archival quality markers are available for indicating material to be photocopied. Other methods of marking materials for copying (such as sticky notes or paperclips) may not be used. Materials may not be leaned on, written on, folded, traced, or handled in any way likely to damage them. A staff member should be notified if papers are found to be out of order. A staff member should also be shown any torn or very fragile materials that might be in need of repair. All folders and items must be replaced in original order and in their original condition. Patrons must return all items to the reference desk and wait until the material has been checked in. Researchers who fail to follow these requirements may be refused further access to materials.

Use of manuscripts and published materials is subject to provisions of current copyright law. Laws against libel and invasion of privacy may also apply. Readers assume full responsibility for any legal questions that may arise as the result of their use of materials in the collections. Permission to examine materials, or to obtain copies, does not imply the right to publish them, in whole or in part. Permission to publish must be obtained from the appropriate copyright holder.

Photocopies are allowed at the discretion of staff and follow the current copy fee schedule. Because staff and facilities are limited, it is not usually possible to provide copying service immediately, especially if large numbers of copies are requested. Photocopying/scanning will be performed by staff only. Pending librarian approval, patrons may take pictures of items with a camera. The use of personal scanners is prohibited.

The staff of the Havana Public Library District will search for up to three obituaries or newspaper articles free of charge if the exact names and dates are provided. These three free obituaries and/or articles can be emailed or faxed to the recipient. If paper copies are required, we charge .15 per standard 8.5” x 11” page plus postage. Payment must be received before the items are sent. We accept cash and check only; credit card payments are not available at this time. Brief requests are typically processed within seven business days.

Lengthier and more complex research requests will cost $10 per hour, plus all applicable print and postage fees. Call the library to detail your research request and receive a cost estimate. Payment must be received before the items are sent. We accept cash and check only; credit card payments are not available at this time. Requests are typically processed within ten business days but may require additional time.

If a query requires courthouse or other off-site research, it will be turned over to the researcher of the Mason County Genealogical & Historical Society.

Approved by the Havana Public Library District Board of Trustees, March 17, 2022

Genealogical and Local History Collection Usage Form.pdfGenealogical and Local History Deed of Gift Agreement.pdf
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