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Commission approves FCARC volunteer program

The Franklin County Archives and Research Center will now offer a volunteer program for those who consider themselves history buffs.

On Monday the Franklin County Commission approved the program that should hopefully bring some much-needed assistance to the center.

FCARC director Chris Ozbirn believes the program will be a tremendous help to her and her current staff.

“The program should serve to be greatly beneficial to the archives and to me especially,” she said. “There are many times to where I can’t get around to helping everyone who shows up, so if at all possible I’d like to have people who have a little experience in genealogy, but everyone who is interested is welcome to come and get an application.”

Ozbirn is seeking people who actually enjoy history and believes quality is better than quantity.

“Even though we are volunteers, we still represent Franklin County,” she said. “So there is a code of conduct and some background information for people who are interested to fill out. After that is done, I will then discuss each applicant with our Probate Judge Barry Moore and together we will make the decision. I’m just trying to have every base covered because this is all new to me, but I guarantee it will be beneficial to us and to the center.”

Ozbirn said she admits the program should have been established a long time ago, but when she first took over she had no idea that it was even possible to have such of a thing.

“Our advisory board believed the program to be a good idea and once I got the go ahead from them, I presented it to the commission and they supported it as well,” Ozbirn said.  “The commission has supported our center for a long time and I am happy they were on board with the idea. Since that time, I have actually had another archive contact me who wanted a copy of our guidelines for the program because they wanted to do something similar.”

Ozbirn said she sees the center as a key resource and believes it also serves as additional help to the local economy.

“Sometimes we get folks from out of state who only plan on staying one day here,” she said. “But once they get here and see what all we have to offer they end up staying a few extra days. We will direct them to a local hotel and that means they spend their money here on gas and food. I believe the center can contribute in a bigger way then it already has with the additional help coming in.”

Ozbirn said the program could serve to be really beneficial to those who are looking for volunteer hours for college credit.

“We really need to get younger people interested in genealogy and I think the program could help encourage those young people to come in and just hear stories of the past,” she said. “Once they get in here and listen to those stories and do some research of their own then they would be hooked for life.”

Ozbirn said people might sign up for different times if they can’t afford to be full-time.

“I’m not asking for people to give up their time all day everyday like I do,” she said. “But if they want to come in and volunteer for six hours, two hours or all day that is fine. I’m fine with just whatever they can manage.”

Applications to volunteer are available at the FCARC during regularly scheduled hours.