Saturday, December 26, 2009

New Year's Wishes for SGS

What would you MOST like to see happen at SGS in 2010?
I've been pondering this question for the last couple of days, trying to figure out where to focus my energies in the coming year (or at least 5 months).
One looming issue facing SGS is our library lease. Our current 10-year lease is up in April 2011. Since we really can't afford our current rent, I'm having grave doubts about our ability to negotiate a new lease that is within our financial reach. Ironically, the space we have--while in a great location--doesn't fit our current needs very well. We could really use a class/social room that will hold 30-40 people. We need more easily accessible parking. We need more space for computers and appropriate wiring to support them. BUT we can't really afford to pay even our current rent, so how can we afford a more spacious location?
How important is the library to SGS and its membership? The recent survey on this site and the library sign-in log indicate that it is only used by a very small fraction of our membership. Is it important to the rest of our members to maintain this library? What should its focus be?
The other issue I continually ponder is how to get more of our members actively involved in SGS activities. We've tried expanding our class and program offerings. Will more members turn out than the usual handful? If not, what would bring more members out to SGS? The state focus groups started in 2005 brought out a lot of members, but attendance at those meetings quickly declined. What programs could/should SGS offer that would interest more members?
I'd love to know your thoughts on these and other issues facing SGS. What would YOU like to see happen at SGS in 2010? Please click on the word "comment" below and let me know your thoughts.

1 comment:

  1. One thing that would be great is a dedicated meeting space with a capacity for 35-40 people or so. We can only book 3 months in advance at one of the local libraries, and are prohibited from marketing the society or accepting any sort of fee for attendance as a result.

    I think we should consider digitizing some of our collection (or finding new unique Puget Sound regional records) and making those records available for members via a members-only section of our (non-Ancestry/RoostWeb) website. The index generated for the court records project would be a great candidate for this.

    The website could also make lookups or records available for a fee, payable to SGS via PayPal. I use this type of service offered by a handful of genealogy libraries/historical societies and think it would be a great way for us to add to our revenue stream. If we could find a way for volunteers to prepare the information without having to be at SGS during the normal operating hours, then people who still work might be able to participate.

    Perhaps some questions we should ask our members are "why did you join the society initially?" and "why do you continue to renew your membership?" Those answers, coupled with a simple demographic study (ZIP code, age, gender, length of time doing genealogy, level of expertise) might give us a better picture of what we can expect going forward.

    The library is important to me personally, even though I can rarely make use of it due to my work schedule.

    Dawn Bingaman
    20+ year member of SGS