The following was originally published as part of a newsletter about the current legislative session in Iowa from Craig Patterson and Amy Campbell. I’ve written and even had a guest post before about the problem of the funding cuts which have basically eliminated the local newspaper preservation services in Iowa. This means that the main record of local history and genealogy is becoming more inaccessible every day and that the older and rarer issues and even modern issues (which are printed on the cheapest paper with the cheapest ink possible and won’t last long) are getting closer to permanent loss. Since it’s hard to get any kind of update about this growing problem (more newspapers are being printed every day and the backlog grows), I asked for and kindly received permission to reprint their information on this topic. – SSU
Efforts came up short to move forward on a proposal to allocate $250,000 in one-time money to the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs/State Historical Society to restart microfilming back issues of Iowa local newspapers. Several legislators in both chambers support the effort and have pushed legislation to make this a priority. ILA President Sarah Willeford even sent a letter to Department of Cultural Affairs Director Mary Cownie to share the library community’s support for the effort.
Ultimately, however, this is not a priority for the Governor or Director Cownie. Legislative staff worked with ILA lobbyists until the very end on an effort to fund the initiative, but ultimately they were unable to devise a way to fund the effort in a way that would not be line-item vetoed. Moving forward, we will need to reach out to Director Cownie and try to make the case for archiving these materials. Until then, back issues are going to continue to pile up.