Iowa Newspaper Preservation 2014

I have previously posted several reports on the sad state of the local newspaper preservation service in Iowa. Funding to this important program has been slashed and basically all progress has stopped on this process which is designed to insure Iowa’s history (personal, community, and state) aren’t lost forever. Today I’m sharing with permission a post from State Historical Society of Iowa’s Preservation Program that gives a current report on the situation. I made a few minor edits, mostly to correct formatting errors that arose from copying and a few other format changes. – SSU

Iowa Newspaper Preservation 2014

Lithograph Machine
Lithograph Machine

Over the years I have worked with many of you on preserving your community’s weekly newspaper through Iowa’s (SHSI) Newspaper Preservation Co-op Project and HRDP grants. I’ve enjoyed our conversations and partnerships in working to save Iowa’s fragile treasurers. To bring you up-to-date on the current status in the Preservation Unit, I would like to share the following information:

1) The Society is continuing to collect newspapers on a weekly basis.

2) In 2009 we lost our funding for preservation microfilming; however, two hundred and seventy-two weekly newspapers continue to be sent to us each week with the expectation the SHSI’s will preserve them through filming. We are now faced with a backlog of 1200 newspaper bundles stored on shelves and pallets throughout the Historical Building waiting to be microfilmed.

3) We severed our filming and storage contract with Heritage Microfilm a number of years ago because their business model began operating out of Mexico [Ed. note – and generally started to behave unprofessionally]. We immediately brought Advantage Information Management in Cedar Rapids under contract to handle all duplication, scanning and preservation microfilming needs of the Society.

Looking to Local Organizations

For now our only hope for newspaper preservation beyond talking with legislators, is to turn to local communities-the genealogical societies, foundations, libraries…for help. Since we have a signed contract in place with Advantage, any newspaper titles filmed through the SHSI are filmed under the state contract. Your cost of $200 per bundle covers the creation of:

  1. Two master films
  2. 1 service copy back to SHSI
  3. 1 service copy back to the organization paying the costs

If you choose digital images instead of film for your copy, the cost is adjusted upward from the film cost. This “next step” of digitization can easily be accomplished once papers have been microfilmed because the digital files will be created from the microfilm duplicating master.

What the Iowa State Historical Society Can Do Right Now

The State Historical Society of Iowa’s responsibility covers:

  1. Assuring the bundle is as complete as possible
  2. Issues are arranged chronologically
  3. Transport of bundles to Advantage
  4. Long-term storage and maintenance of the master films which are managed by SHSI and Advantage

Moving Forward

Some of you may remember the letter, reading very much like one, I sent three years ago. Sadly, times haven’t changed. But many of you have stepped up and helped your community out. Thank you so much for the financial support in saving your treasures. Please feel free to contact me with any questions and concerns. The State Historical Society of Iowa has the largest collection of your historic newspapers preserved on film. We will always see our mission to collect, preserve and make accessible Iowa’s historic resources.

Delpha Musgrave
Local Gov’t Records & Newspaper Preservation
Iowa Newspaper Digital Project
Co-Coordinator State Historical Library & Archives delpha. musgrave @ iowa. gov (spaces added to confuse bots)


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Sarah Uthoff - Trundlebed Tales

Sarah S. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many times at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. She is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales fighting to bring the History, Mystery, Magic, and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation. How can you help? Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, look at her photos, and find her on Facebook , Twitter , Google+, LinkedIn , SlideShare, and . Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and former director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

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