Jennifer Holik-Urban wrote an article called "Tony's Schaumburg Library Genealogy Group" in which she describes the effort of one man to bring genealogy to the people. From her description, Tony is a reference librarian so passionate about genealogy that he is a one-man show bringing education about genealogy to researchers in his area.
I wish more people were like Tony. I wish more people could have a dynamic, passionate, energized guide as they weave their way through their genealogical journey
But my wish wouldn't end there. I wouldn't wish for it to end with Tony. There is a real opportunity here to gain momentum and for others to become as energized, organized and helpful as Tony. I would love for others to catch Tony's bug and pay it forward.
There is a real lesson in here somewhere for genealogy societies. Real momentum can be gained from an energized person like Tony who can really rev up a group. The challenge is consciously capturing that momentum and encouraging it to spread amongst the rest of the membership.
Tony is not the only Tony out there. I know of a few other "Tonys" right here in my home state of Massachusetts who are going above and beyond the call of duty and really trying to energize and build their genealogy groups and societies. But they can't do it alone.
If you're an officer in a society, see if you can identify any Tonys or potential Tonys in your group. Perhaps you don't have the energy yourself to be that person but you could do a great service by identifying and then encouraging other people to take on that role.
It sounds like the Schaumburg Library has something very special going on. Let's see if we can use it as a role model and help the momentum to spread.
Take a moment to read the article and learn exactly what Tony is doing right in Chicago. You can even check out Tony's Genealogy Group blog.
Photo Credit: Photo by Robbie1 and used under the creative commons license. Modified by M. Pierre-Louis.