Tag Archives: small libraries

Archiving in Rural Libraries: Newspapers

Does your town have a newspaper? Did it have one once? If the town or surrounding towns have or had a newspaper the library probably has every copy ever printed. Chances are that many patrons will come in and ask for the back issues of these newspapers. Therefore, storage for these materials can become difficult. When faced with storing newspapers it is very common to see them stored in stacks that can easily be searched when requested by a patron. Keeping these papers usable for the public is the challenge that many librarians and archivists face.

The easiest way to preserve newspapers is by purchasing large acid & lignin free newspaper folders. These folders are generally labeled as oversized folders that can be purchased to the sized of the newspaper. I would suggest purchasing a folder that is slightly larger than the newspaper so the item is fully covered. This will keep it completely out of damaging light and dust. The most common practice is to have one newspaper per folder so that each item stays as pristine as possible. These folders can then be put into an oversized box that can easily be looked through in order to find the item when requested. If the newspaper is particularly fragile it is suggested that it does not circulate among patrons. A fragile item will be fine in one of the folders but for extra protection I would suggest using a Mylar or Polyester sleeve. These sleeves will encase the entire newspaper in a type of plastic wrapping that will prevent moisture and air movement through the item. I suggest this for those newspapers that are starting to disintegrate from age and use. Though it will not stop the disintegration process entirely it will slow it down enough to ensure its usefulness for the future.

Depending on where the items are purchased the cost will fluctuate. The two most common archival suppliers are Gaylord Archival Supplies and Hollinger Metal Edge. The item depends on the best place to shop. The items within these two companies are comparable in quality so when ordering it is important to have a general idea of how many items are needed. When ordering take notice of the package sizes (package of 10, 25, 50, etc.) and of the minimum order amount. Because these folders and boxes are oversized they may not be available at a general office supply store like Staples.

Where to start with your newspaper archive: 

  1. Gaylord Archival Supplies has a starter kit available for those archiving newspapers for the first time. It is available for order at this link.
  2. Hollinger Metal Edge also sells a newspaper kit. The page comes with the option to purchase more folders of the size that are in the kit right away. It is available at this link.


Big Talk for Small Libraries

Often when we see the term “small libraries” attached to a conference, reference book, website, or what have you, the author, organizer, or presenter’s definition of “small” really misses the target of what we consider small here in North Dakota. Truly small libraries, the kind that serve a few thousand people, or even a few hundred, have unique needs and face a set of challenges all their own. If you’re looking for new ideas, best practices, and strategies for addressing these needs and tackling these challenges, check out the Big Talk for Small Libraries online conference. Hosted by the Nebraska Library Commission and co-sponsored by the Association for Rural & Small Libraries, this free one-day online conference focuses exclusively on small libraries. The speakers are all employees of small libraries or people who work with them, and they speak directly from their experience with the joys and struggles of life in small town libraries.

Stanton Public Library in Stanton, ND, population 366.

Stanton Public Library in Stanton, ND, population 366.

The conference runs from 8:45 AM to 5:00 PM (Central) on February 28. You can tune in for the whole day, or pick and choose which presentations you’d like to attend. Organizers are still working on finalizing the program, but here are a few of the sessions in the lineup thus far:

  • How to Make Money on the Internet for Your Library
  • How to Start a Great Teen Advisory Board
  • Resourceful Library Programming

I viewed the archives of many of the presentations from last year’s Big Talk for Small Libraries, and found that this online conference really does speak to the needs and issues of small libraries as advertised. Registration is open now, and more info is available on the Big Talk for Small Libraries blog. This is a great opportunity to gain some knowledge and new ideas – at no cost and without leaving your desk. I’ll be “at” the conference – hope to see you there!