Since the opening of the new Church History Library of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on June 20, 2009, the public has been coming to the facility in large numbers and with a new appreciation for Church history.
(Watch 'The Story Lives Here', a presentation about the way stories are preserved and used at the Church History Library.)
Patrick Dunshee, manager of marketing and communications for the Church History Department, said the number of people visiting (excluding tour groups) during the first six weeks totaled nearly 10,000, with an average of 300 per day. Most visitors come on Thursdays since hours are extended until 9:00 p.m. that day.
"General reaction of the public is one of great appreciation and they are receiving new insights into what the collections contain," said Dunshee. "Most of the increases in numbers are new first-time users who have not known about the Church History Library in the past."
At the time capsule ceremony for the library, Church president Thomas S. Monson, speaking of the importance of preserving history, said:
You can't read history and not have a greater appreciation for the past and an awareness that every day we are writing a history for others.
A prior Newsroom piece described the impact the library would have:
This facility opens the door for researchers and historians of all kinds to flesh out the stories of Mormon heritage that pass through the imagination of Latter-day Saints from generation to generation. The Church cannot undertake this project on its own. It requires a groundswell of countless individuals -- from within and without the Church -- operating on their own personal inspiration. The story of the Church will inevitably be told as historians of good faith are given access to the library's records and archives (see full article).
Dunshee also said the library is looking for ways to inform patrons about the best way to use the collections, as well as training them how to use the search tools on the library's desktop computers.
(See also the Newsroom media package posted about the library.)