Visitors come to the Church History Library for a variety of reasons. Scholars and researchers visit the library to conduct research on topics related to the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Other visitors are interested in using our collections to do research for projects, to do family history, or to fulfill their Church responsibilities. Visitors may also come for tours and presentations at the Church History Library.
We want your visit to be as productive and enjoyable as possible. Please be aware that there are certain policies and guidelines to follow when visiting. If you will be using materials from our secure stacks, you will want to familiarize yourself with the reading room and access policies. We encourage first-time researchers to register online before arriving.
Don’t forget to check our hours and admission information before you come so you’re not surprised by any closures. We encourage visitors from out of town to check parking options as well as attractions and events in the downtown Salt Lake City area.
If you have any questions, please contact us.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: Can I do family history research at the Church History Library?
A: The Church History Library primarily collects records documenting the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from its origins to the present. However, many of these records are valuable for researching ancestors who were members of the Church. For more information on what types of records can be useful in family history research, you may view our Latter-day Saint Family and Local History Sources research guide. If you are looking for vital or public records or for information on ancestors who were not members of the Church, you should visit the Family History Library.
Q: Can I get a copy of my patriarchal blessing at the Church History Library?
A: The Church History Library no longer provides hard copies of patriarchal blessings. However, you can access your patriarchal blessing electronically. For more information, visit our Patriarchal Blessings page.
Q: I have lost the certificate for one of my ordinances (such as a baby blessing, baptism, or priesthood ordination). Can I get a copy from the library?
A: The Church History Library does not have copies of ordinance certificates. These certificates are provided to the individual who received the ordinance, but they are not submitted to the library. To obtain a replacement copy, speak with your ward clerk.
Q: What should I bring with me when I come to the library to research?
A: Patrons conducting research at the library can bring laptops, flash drives, tablets, cell phones, and cameras for note-taking purposes. For more information on approved devices, see our Reading Room Policies and Guidelines for Copying and Obtaining Digitized Material.
Patrons should know how to log in to their LDS Account before coming to the library. Those who do not have an LDS Account can create one by going to LDS.org, clicking My Account and Ward, and selecting Sign In. Patrons who are not members of the Church can create an account by following these same steps. Patrons may also choose to scan images and email themselves copies, so email log-in information is also important.
Q: Can I check out materials from the library?
A: The Church History Library acts as a special collections library and archive. As such, we do not circulate materials outside the library, but patrons are welcome to visit and view items in the building. To learn more about our policies, visit our Policies and Guidelines page.
Q: I forgot my flash drive at home. Can I buy one at the library?
A: Yes. The library sells both flash drives and copy cards, which can be swiped at the printer to pay for copies. Both items are available for purchase from a vending machine. The copy cards are sold in $2 and $5 amounts, and our 4-gigabyte flash drives cost $7. Please note that exact change is required when using cash to purchase these items.
Copy cards from the Church History Library may also be used at the Family History Library and vice versa.
Q: How long should I plan to visit?
A: Most of our materials are kept in our secure stacks, and it can take up to 15 minutes to retrieve these materials. Different formats, such as microfilm, can also take more time to view. Patrons should keep this in mind as they plan their visit to ensure they have enough time to complete their research.
We encourage patrons to register before coming to the library and to do some research using our online catalog prior to their visit. Many items can be viewed online, and patrons can identify materials of interest before arriving so their time in the library can be used to view items rather than to locate them. If patrons have difficulty finding materials, library staff members are happy to help them in person or online using our Ask Us service.
Q: Can I access the catalog from home?
A: Yes. We encourage you to search the online catalog prior to coming to the library. Many of our collections have been digitized and are available to view online from any location. When logged in, patrons can also use our e-shelf function to bookmark items they would like to look at when they visit the library. Just click on the image of books in the right-hand corner of the catalog record to save the item to an e-shelf. To view the items that you’ve saved, click the e-shelf tab on the menu bar.
Q: Will I be able to view anything I want from the library’s collections?
A: No. Some of our collections are closed to research. We encourage patrons to check the catalog before coming to the library to make sure that the items they would like to view are open to research.
We also have many collections of digital records that are not available for immediate viewing. To view this content, you will need to use the Suggest Digitization service. For more information on digitization services, view our Guidelines for Copying and Obtaining Digitized Material.
Q: Can my family tour the library?
A: Yes. We offer tours and presentations that are great for families. If you have a small group, feel free to walk in and take a tour. If you have a large group or would like a presentation, it is best to schedule in advance so that we can plan for your group. If you would like to bring your family in to view materials in the reading room, we ask that you contact us at least 2–3 days in advance.
Q: I am not very tech savvy. Can I still look at materials and research at the library?
A: Yes. However, much of the research process does require using a computer and other technology. While library staff members are available to assist you, they also need to be available to help other patrons, so we suggest bringing a friend or helper with you whenever possible. This will greatly reduce your wait time while at the library and will make your visit more efficient.