Whether or not they're members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or LDS church, more and more genealogy researchers are turning to LDS genealogy resources, among these the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.
The Family History Library is the largest genealogical library in the world. It is manned by 125 professional staff and about 700 trained volunteers. The library is 142,000 square feet on five floors. The building itself was designed to be archive-quality: the humidity level, temperature, and lighting are all balanced to preserve the records.
The Family History Library dates back to 1894, when the Genealogical Society of Utah began collecting records to establish a genealogical library. By 1919, the library contained more than 5,000 books. While the library originally collected LDS genealogy records, the focus was soon shifted to collecting any and all genealogical records from around the world. The library collection continued to steadily grow, and by 1937 there were more than 19,000 books. Shortly thereafter, the library began microfilming records (today the library's microfilm collection is the largest in the world).
As the LDS genealogy collection continued to grow, a new building was needed to house the Family History Library. In 1983 construction began on a new building, and in 1985 the new facility was opened to the public. 160,000 books and 1.5 million rolls of microfilm were moved into the new building. Since that time, the collection has grown to include more than 356,000 books and over 2.4 million rolls of microfilm.
Visiting the library is completely free, and it is not necessary to make an appointment in advance (although a few of the records are stored in the nearby Granite Vault facility and must be ordered 2-3 days in advance; this can be done online). Within the library, hundreds of volunteers are available to help patrons-beginners and experts alike-to search their family history and genealogy.
Source: Hearts Turned to the Fathers: A History of the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1894-1994, James B. Allen, Jessie L. Embry, Kahlile B. Mehr, BYU Studies, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah 1995 as seen on www.familysearch.org