10 February 2011

Where Do Your Ordered Microfilms Come From?

The RootsTech conference sponsored by FamilySearch began yesterday afternoon for bloggers and other media. We were treated to a very special and rare tour of The Distribution and Print Center of The Church of the Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Th.is is the distribution point for any microfilm you might order at any one of the over 4,600 Family History Centers around the world.

The center covers over 1 million square feet which is about the size of 19 football fields! It houses about 750,000 copies of microfilm rolls consisting of the most often requested films. And this is only a small portion of what goes on in this distribution site. The warehouse contains over 2,000 different products and ships out over 5.1 million items per year!

We were supplied with photo's to share which are the property of Intellectual Reserve. We were not allowed to photo inside the building. This first picture is of the conveyor and cataloging system used to retrieve the film(s) you order. The films are stored in large trays that are accessed via the crane type mechanism you see here in the middle. 


The films are hand-picked from the trays, barcode scanned, and and shuttled to the next stop which packages and ships your films directly to your location. Turnaround time can be as little as two days or could be several weeks depending on whether your requested film is popular or extremely unique. Also, the shipping location can affect delivery time.  In fact, there are 43 international distribution centers that may take the original shipped packages and redirect the films to the appropriate Family History Center or Library.


So when you wonder where your film came from or you wonder why it may take a little extra time realize that the center processes about 255,000 microfilm every year! 

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One more thought about the Distribution Center...It is so efficient that it is recommended that you order ALL your Church supplies directly from the LDS Online Store rather than visiting a local retail outlet. It's much less expensive for both the Church and you. You save gasoline and your valuable time. All product except films are shipped directly to your home!