Elder Russell David Olsen is one of 78 young missionaries serving in the Family and Church History Mission. These young missionaries are a huge support. Elder Olsen is one of the many missionaries that bring amazing talents to their callings to benefit the mission, the libraries, and library patrons.
Elder Olsen has faithfully served for two years and will be returning to his home in Logan, Utah, sometime this month. His assignment has been in the Access Services zone on the third floor of the Family History Library. This assignment means that he is one of the librarians. As a missionary in Access Services, he is responsible for helping patrons who come to the window and need assistance in locating a book or film. At other times, he helps in the Document Center, where the scanning and copying machines can challenge the best of patrons. He can demonstrate the latest tricks in scanning and preserving a digital copy of an item for a patron to take home. He also has the responsibility of shelf reading—reviewing the book shelves to make sure the books are in perfect numerical order. This is a task that usually takes several days to accomplish on the third floor. The missionaries are given two weeks to complete the assignment. Elder Olsen has challenged himself to do it quickly and has been known to accomplish the task in three hours and one minute! This speed demonstrates his amazing ability to focus on a task, challenge himself to accomplish it in record time, and then complete it.
Another major talent of his comes to light in the evening when he begins his work on a special project. He has a typing assignment in which he has demonstrated 145 wpm with no mistakes. He is presently copying a book that is filled with dates, places, and film numbers into an Excel sheet. In proofreading his work, a mistake was found, but it turned out to be from the book, not from Elder Olsen. This typing assignment is his reward for his good work during the day because he loves to do it. When his work assignment is completed, the book will be added to the FamilySearch Wiki.
When asked how he got to be so accomplished at typing, his response is that he made use of competitive Internet typing sites. He started at a young age but was at an all-star level by 10th grade. When recently tested, he was able to accomplish 145 wpm with no errors for a five minute period. He reached 181 wpm for one minute in one test. He suspects his finger movement is helped by his piano playing, which he began in second grade.