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This architect's conceptual rendering shows the new Smitha Building, which will house the Thomasville Genealogical, History and Fine Arts Library, after renovations.


Thomasville Genealogical Library set to move to Thomas University

Thomas University’s Main Campus will soon be the new home of the Thomasville Genealogical, History and Fine Arts Library. Formerly located on Broad Street in downtown Thomasville, the library will soon be relocated to the Eugenia P. Smitha Building on TU’s Main Campus, located at the intersection of Pinetree Boulevard and Millpond Road in Thomasville.

“We are delighted to have the Thomasville Genealogical Library relocating to Thomas University,” said Dr. Gary Bonvillian, TU President. “This is our way of reaching out to the community and providing a service that will help people interested in discovering their roots – an expansion of what we are already doing through our many outreach partnerships in the area.”

The Thomasville Genealogical, History and Fine Arts Library is expected to open on TU’s Main Campus after renovations are made to the existing Smitha Building, which is accessible by the Millpond Road entrance. Space in the Student Life Center on TU’s Magnolia Campus will be renovated to accommodate the art studio and art classroom formerly located in the Smitha Building. The renovations and the moves are made possible by contributions from the Board of Directors of the Thomasville Genealogical, History and Fine Arts Library and the Williams Family Foundation.

“We are meeting with Ray Finger, the architect for renovating the new Genealogy Library location on TU’s campus, to design an inviting space that copies architectural features from the previous library location in the historical building downtown and overlooks our beautiful campus,” said Dr. Ann Landis, TU Executive Vice President and Provost. “The renovation should be completed by early summer 2016, and the library will open by mid-summer for patrons to again have access to the physical resources and improved technology for electronic genealogical research.”

The Smitha Building, which will be the new home to the Thomasville Genealogical, History and Fine Arts Library at TU, has had multiple iterations on the TU Main Campus. After renovation in 1994, it was renamed the Eugenia P. Smitha Building in honor of the TU benefactor. Smitha served on the Board of Trustees from 1976 to 2000 and was named a Trustee Emerita in 2004. She was essential in obtaining recognition from the National Trust for Historic Preservation for Forbes Administration Building at TU. In 1999 Smitha received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from TU.

“We feel this renovation and housing the Thomasville Genealogical, History and Fine Arts Library are in line with Eugenia P. Smitha’s dedication to Thomas University and to the community,” Bonvillian said. “We look forward to having the library as part of the TU campus.”

Kathy Mills, Director of the Thomasville Genealogical, History and Fine Arts Library, said, “We’re just so excited about this move. I just think we’re going to get students involved and maybe some of the faculty involved in doing their genealogy. This move will also help with getting our name out there so more people will know about this wonderful resource.”

In addition to the new location, moving to TU will also provide an opportunity to expand the Genealogical Library.

“Not only will genealogy patrons continue to have access to all the resources and holdings in the Genealogical Library, but they will have access to additional holdings held by the Thomas University Library, which is just a few steps away,” said Lynn Kelly, Director of the Thomas University Library. “That includes access to many more electronic holdings and the TU library’s computers.”

Plans also include upgrading some of the Genealogical Library’s computers, acquiring a new microfilm reader, and having a small room in which to conduct training sessions. Additionally, the move will allow titles in the Genealogical Library to be featured in an online catalog that will be accessible at any time, according to Kelly

“We are privileged to have the opportunity to expand our university Library with the addition of this special library,” Landis said. “Not only do we look forward to welcoming existing patrons of the Genealogical Library to Thomas University, but we see this as an opportunity to expand interest in genealogical research and history of the region by connecting the mission of the Genealogical Library with the educational mission and resources of Thomas University.”

In the meantime, Mills has a temporary office at 312 N. Broad St. Those interested in researching their genealogy using the Genealogy Library’s resources can contact Mills in her temporary office at (229) 226-9640 between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Monday through Friday for assistance.

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