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Genealogical Research

​The Clarke Library welcomes genealogists to use its facilities. Genealogists seeking information about past residents of the mid-Michigan area will find the Clarke extremely helpful. In particular, an obituary index for papers published in Mount Pleasant can frequently be used to find information about family members who have died.

Using the Clarke Library for genealogical inquiries does, however pose some challenges that are not always present in other libraries. These issues come about because the Clarke's primary mission is to serve the scholarly research community rather than the genealogical community. Particular points of concerns for genealogists are:

  • The Clarke Library has limited hours. Because of limited staff the library is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 pm. The Library is also open on many Saturdays during the academic year from 9:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m. If you are planning a Saturday visit, please call us in advance to confirm that we will be open.
  • Because of our limited staff we cannot perform lengthy research for individuals.
  • Most material within the library is not indexed nor is it available on line. Thorough research will require an on-site visit.
  • The Clarke Library stacks are "closed." Researchers are not allowed to browse the shelves for material. This is a security procedure to help protect the collection from theft.
  • When a person requests material a library employee will retrieve the item and bring it to the person requesting it. For library users who need to quickly examine a large number of items, this can cause some delays. Similarly when many users simultaneously request material, delays can occur.
  • The Clarke Library does not circulate material. Requested material must be used in the Clarke's reading area.
  • If you request a photocopy, it will be made for you by the Clarke Library staff. We do this to ensure that material is handled gently and carefully while being copied. We may refuse to photocopy a specific item if, in the opinion of the library staff, copying would damage the item or if copying would, in the staff's opinion, violate copyright law.
  • Photocopy orders are processed in the order in which they are received. If the library is busy when you visit, or if your photocopy order is placed late in the day, it may not be possible to complete your order while you wait.
  • Although the Clarke Library has an extensive microfilm collection, we have only a limited number of readers and but two reader-printers. This can cause delays.

The Clarke Library staff will work with genealogists and other library users to minimize the problems created by the Library's rules and regulations. However, researchers may nevertheless experience inconveniences. We apologize for any inconvenience. The library staff carefully weighs our responsibility to maintain a research collection with our equally important responsibility to serve library users in the most efficient manner possible.