Peabody library puts city?s old newspapers online for public access

Peabody Township Library director Rodger Charles (standing) watches as board members access the searchable database of Peabody newspapers going back 137 years. The oldest publication in the database dates to January 1876. The most current publication in the database is December 2012. The Peabody Gazette and the other names under which it has been published historically?such as The Peabody Gazette-Herald, Gazette Bulletin, Pea??- body Gazette, Peabody Gazette-Bulletin and the Peabody Herald?are now available online as a searchable database.

The digitization project, undertaken by the Peabody Township Library, was possible due to a generous donation in the memory of Adele and Harold Taylor.

Library Director Rodger Charles told the library board Aug. 15 that Advantage Preser?vation has completed digitizing the library?s collection of local newspapers.

The oldest publication in the database dates to January 1876. The most current publication in the database is December 2012.

Charles said this is a significant leap forward in the preservation of Peabody?s local history since newspapers play such a critical role in that regard.

In the past, with help from the Peabody Historical Society, the library had invested in microfilm copies of these newspapers and was current with the Gazette on microfilm until 2004. After 2004, microfilming was discontinued because the costs had become prohibitive.

The existing microfilm records will be preserved. The physical hard copies of the newspaper currently housed in the library basement are being offered to the Peabody Historical Society.

Another physical set of the newspaper, plus microfilmed copies, are archived at the Kansas State Historical Society in Topeka.

The Peabody Township Library has made available lesson plans that allow educators in USD 398 to utilize the online database in their classroom teaching efforts.

Future library plans include the digitization of other newspapers from Peabody?s past, the addition of current Peabody-Gazette editions to the database on a yearly basis, and eventually the inclusion of other historical items currently stored in the library such as audio interview files and some videos.

Once completed, the project will be the largest digital database of Peabody history available, Charles said.

?The Peabody Township Library is at the forefront of the archiving effort in this part of the country,? he added. ?We?ve had several libraries from across the state contact us to ask for advice in how to go about digitizing their collections.?

The digital copies are accessible through a link on the Peabody Township Library?s website: peabody.mykansaslibrary.org/, or by going directly to: peabody.advantage-preservation.com/.

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