Wheeler Memorial Library continuing to digitize old North Quabbin newspapers

  • A digital copy of the weekly Millers Falls News from 1902. Advantage Archives, a document archival company based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is digitizing the Wheeler Memorial Library’s microfilms of old North Quabbin newspapers. They can be seen at wheeler.advantage-preservation.com. SCREENSHOT

  • A digital copy of the weekly Orange Journal from 1883. Advantage Archives, a document archival company based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is digitizing the Wheeler Memorial Library’s microfilms of old North Quabbin newspapers. They can be seen at wheeler.advantage-preservation.com. SCREENSHOT

  • A digital copy of the weekly Orange Enterprise and Journal from August 1945, the first one since the Japanese surrendered to end World War II hostilities. Advantage Archives, a document archival company based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is digitizing the Wheeler Memorial Library’s microfilms of old North Quabbin newspapers. They can be seen at wheeler.advantage-preservation.com. SCREENSHOT

  • A digital copy of the weekly Orange Enterprise and Journal from November 1963, following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Advantage Archives, a document archival company based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is digitizing the microfilms of old North Quabbin newspapers. SCREENSHOT

  • A digital copy of the weekly Orange Enterprise from Nov. 10, 1896. Advantage Archives, a document archival company based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is digitizing the Wheeler Memorial Library’s microfilms of old North Quabbin newspapers. They can be seen at wheeler.advantage-preservation.com. SCREENSHOT

  • A digital copy of the weekly Orange Enterprise and Journal from September 1939, the first one published after Adolph Hitler invaded Poland to start World War II. Advantage Archives, a document archival company based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is digitizing the Wheeler Memorial Library’s microfilms of old North Quabbin newspapers. They can be seen at wheeler.advantage-preservation.com. SCREENSHOT

  • A digital copy of the weekly Orange Enterprise and Journal from Jan. 14, 1970, announcing the death of Rodney Hunt official Edward Swim at age 54, the death of Orange Selectman Richard Shea at age 38, and the naming of Colonial Acres. Advantage Archives, a document archival company based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is digitizing the Wheeler Memorial Library’s microfilms of old North Quabbin newspapers. They can be seen at wheeler.advantage-preservation.com. SCREENSHOT

  • Wheeler Memorial Library at 49 East Main St. in Orange. STAFF FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 4/25/2021 4:07:05 PM
Modified: 4/25/2021 4:07:03 PM

ORANGE — Post-1975 issues of some North Quabbin newspapers, including the Athol Daily News, will continue to be digitized for public consumption, though they will be accessible inside Wheeler Memorial Library only, due to copyright law.

Library Director Jessica Magelaner explained Advantage Archives, a document archival company, has been working for three or four years to digitize rolls of newspaper microfilm the library sends. There are now digital copies of various editions of the weekly Miller Falls News (1902), the Orange Journal (1883-1894), the Orange Enterprise (1891-1899), the Orange Enterprise and Journal (1961-1974), and the Enterprise and Journal (1899-1975). They can be seen at wheeler.advantage-preservation.com.

“It’s really, really cool. It’s all of the old newspapers from 1883 through 1975, just digitized,” Magelaner told Orange Selectboard members this week. “You can look at them online, you can print them out. They do have keyword searches. Some of the older newspapers, the keyword searches are not 100 percent reliable because those newspapers were, you know, a century old and they’re a little fuzzy, so it doesn’t always find the right words. But it’s really fun to browse through and really fun to search.”

However, editions after 1975 cannot be viewed at home.

“You will be able to search for them and print them out and look through them the same way you would with the older editions,” Magelaner said. “Just, you’ll have to do that in house.”

She said the project is continuing with digitization. Wheeler Memorial Library has sent Advantage Archives, based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, a couple hundred rolls of microfilm for digitizing, at $250 per roll. Magelaner said the cost is funded by money from the library’s purchase services budget and some donations. The expense was approved by the library’s board of trustees.

But Magelaner also mentioned that the library’s microfilm reader, which she estimates is at least 15 years old, is broken and the man previously contracted to repair it no longer services machines that old. So, she said, the library is looking to purchase a new, smaller one that can possibly be placed in the building’s public computer area “instead of having it in the one corner near the storage closet.” Anyone with feedback or suggestions can email Magelaner at director@orangelib.org.

The library director said the microfilm reader is a vital resource for anyone conducting historical or genealogical research. In-library visits are still limited to 10 people at a time due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Reach Domenic Poli at: dpoli@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 262.


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