My favorite records repository is the Main Library on the campus of the University of Georgia in Athens. This is the first major research center I ever used outside of local courthouses and libraries, starting in 1987 when I began my undergraduate studies at UGA.
There are a couple of reasons why I love this library. The microfilm collection is rather extensive; it includes U.S. census records for most Southern states, along with the accompanying schedules (Mortality, Agricultural, etc.), extant historical Georgia newspapers, and minutes from Georgia churches and other religious meetings, among others. The special collections section, aka the Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, houses one of the largest collections of historical documents in the Southeast. Plus, the sheer number of historical and genealogical books contained within the library system’s collection is astoundingly large, and many can be checked out with an Outside Borrower’s card.
Mostly, though, one’s first love is the most lasting: I fell in love with UGA’s library system as a freshman, and have never felt the same pull to any other records repository. Set aside for a moment the beauty and tranquility of the library’s setting, the sheer size of the overall collection (housed in six separate buildings), and the fact that I still have family and friends living in the Athens area. Many of my early “Aha!” moments happened within those hallowed walls, and such memories are not easily surplanted by other repositories, regardless of the records contained within.
For more information on UGA’s library system, visit the University of Georgia Libraries web site.