“Relief Society Building to Become Major Resource Center,” Ensign, Mar. 1976, 77–78
Visitors to the 146th Annual General Conference in April may not notice any difference in the Relief Society Building on the outside, but when they go inside, they will be caught up in an exciting and stimulating call to excellence.
The building, while continuing to function as the Relief Society Headquarters Building, will serve a second function as a permanent resource center for homemakers, Relief Society teachers, Relief Society presidents, and any other persons interested in improving their talents and skills in their homes or Church callings.
The three main floors of the building will feature displays, demonstrations, lectures, films, special events, and a resource library to provide practical, down-to-earth ideas for better living, as well as information about the history, purpose, and program of Relief Society.
Born out of the displays that used to be held during Relief Society Conference, the Relief Society Resource Center will be a year-round project open from 8:30 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. Monday through Friday with ever-changing and updated information.
Stake homemaking counselors and leaders will be invited to demonstrations and displays on food preparation and storage, clothing, budgeting, child care, and general health.
There even will be demonstrations on how to plan ward dinners and socials, small or large, from the initial planning stages through the entire event.
In line with President Spencer W. Kimball’s counsel to the Saints to plant their own vegetable gardens, there will be special classes and lectures on the planning and the care of gardens.
For Relief Society presidents and other leaders there will be a resource library full of the latest literature providing practical and inspired guidance, files of talks, “blueprints” of how Relief Society meets the challenges of increasing attendance and fellow shipping potential members, regional conference plans that can be adapted to specific local needs, outlines of special programs that have been presented successfully elsewhere in the Church, and taped lectures and music. Much of this material may be studied in the library or copies may be purchased at cost.
The main floor of the building will feature a model of the Relief Society Nauvoo Monument to women commemorating the establishment of the Relief Society. (See separate story, this issue.)
The main floor will also house demonstration facilities for Relief Society nurseries, complete with materials required, films, and, occasionally, live demonstrations.
There will be a room devoted entirely to films that have been produced especially for the Relief Society through the years and to applicable non-Church films. Not only will the films be shown, but their practical use will also be explained.
For Relief Society teachers there will be workshops and demonstrations on creative and spiritually uplifting teaching methods. Effective scripture study will be highlighted through displays and exhibits.
This treasurehouse of information will be officially opened with a special two-week program during the week prior to, and the week of, April conference. In recognition of the Bicentennial year, these two weeks will be called “The Spirit of 76 North Main”—76 North Main Street being the address of the Relief Society Building.
During this conference time, Relief Society general board members will be available to meet with visiting sisters and to discuss their particular needs.
Board members will also be in the building to explain the displays and exhibits and to conduct the lectures and demonstrations. They will be aided in this work by Relief Society sisters from local stakes.
Guides will be on hand to take visitors through the resource center, or guests may be aided by a taped “guide” on a cassette.
Although the resource center is scheduled to be opened during the regular office hours of the Relief Society Building, evening and perhaps Saturday hours will be established to accommodate those sisters unable to attend during the day.
As the need suggests, special lectures and demonstrations will be featured at the resource center, and all the displays and exhibits will be constantly updated to provide new information.
Sister Barbara B. Smith, general president of the Relief Society, says, “We hope this Relief Society Building, to which the sisters of the Church have contributed so generously, can fill in full measure the purposes for which it was built. We hope the learning resources available here will be a practical help and inspiration to the sisters of the Church everywhere, that these resources will be used by stake Relief Society leaders, by interested priesthood leaders, by visitors and nonmembers, and that all who come here will grasp the vision of the true importance of women in the gospel plan.”