Minnesota Genealogical Society

1385 Mendota Heights Road, Suite 100
Mendota Heights, MN  55120-1367
(651) 330-9312 • info@mngs.org

Planning your Visit

Knowing what you wish to research when you arrive at the Hoffman Research Library (HRL) will make your time here more productive.  Our online catalog can be searched remotely, so you can make a list of items you'd like to see before you come. Here are some other guidelines for how to make the most of your time at the Minnesota Genealogy Center (MGC).  

      • Library admission is free to Minnesota Genealogical Society (MGS),  branch, or partner members. Non-members are asked to pay a $10 per visit usage fee. An annual individual membership in MGS is $40; other groups have varying membership fees.
      • The MGC facility is on a single level, so the library, meeting rooms, and offices are all accessible. Free parking is generally available right outside the front door. 
      • Pandemic protocols will be in place based on recommendations and requirements from the State of Minnesota and Department of Health. Hand sanitizer and wipes are available for patron use in the library and public areas. Changes will be announced on this website's home page.
      • Researchers should sign the check-in book at the reception desk when arriving at the MGC.
      • We ask that you store briefcases, purses, and bags in free lockers provided in the lobby area. There are also coat racks for your convenience.
      • Kitchen facilities with a microwave and refrigerator are available to library users.
      • Accessible restrooms are available within the MGC, with larger facilities available just outside the  main meeting room (the Mississippi Room).
      • A map of the MGC and a list of abbreviations used in our call numbers is available here.
      • The HRL collection is non-circulating, so resources may not be checked out. We also do not permit interlibrary loans. Copies of certain pages from books may be requested, and we will scan or photocopy them within the limits of copyright law. See the Research Services page for more information.
      • The research area has numerous desktop computers for public use, free wireless Internet access, microfiche and microfilm readers, and a printer. Consider bringing a thumb drive for downloading items of interest to take home.
      • You may bring laptops, tablets, and necessary research papers into the Library. Please use pencils for your notes rather than pens, to avoid accidental ink damage to the collection.
      • Food and beverages are prohibited in the library.
      • A scanning copy machine is provided for visitors. There is a minimal charge of 20 cents per page for copies. You may also use personal wand scanners and smart phones to capture images unless materials are designated as Fragile. See library volunteers or staff for guidance.
      • There is also a variety of genealogy-specific software and data installed on the library’s computers. See the Databases page for more details about these useful tools.
      • Please do not reshelve materials after use. Place them on the cart by the reference desk and our volunteers will put them away.
      • If you would like research assistance from specialists for a particular country or ethnic group, MGS branches and partner groups may schedule monthly sessions in the HRL. Check the calendar and plan your visit to connect with these experts. Our volunteer Research Committee can also help steer you in the right direction for a modest fee.
      • MGS logo merchandise is available for purchase from our online store.

Library volunteers and staff are engaged in a massive project to migrate the HRL collection from a home-grown classification scheme to the Dewey Decimal System.  Both organizational methods currently co-exist on our shelves and in our catalog, so do not hesitate to ask if you are unable to find an item. Our map and abbreviations list may also help you navigate. The end result of the project will be a consistent, understandable way of bringing materials together, with more searchable subject headings, contents notes for many titles, fresh labels, and barcodes for collection management. This project is assisted by a grant from the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the Arts and Cultural Heritage fund.

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