According to a news story by IowaWatch.org, current Iowa newspapers are piling up at the archives of the State Historical Society of Iowa in Des Moines, with no current plan to microfilm or otherwise preserve them.
“Traditionally, the papers would have been sent off [for microfilming], but a 2009 budget cut ended that 50-year practice,” says the report. “A bill proposed last year would have provided funds for the backlog, but the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, which oversees the historical society, put on the breaks. It rejected the proposed funding citing pending completion of a master planning process and assessment study to evaluate what it has in the archives and how to preserve those materials in the future.”
Over 1500 bundles of newspapers await microfilm preservation, at an estimated cost of around a quarter million dollars. Officials state that they are reviewing a master plan for preserving all important materials in the state archive, not just newspapers. Click here to read the full story.
What can you do to ensure that today’s newspaper history lives on in your family
- Digitize current obituaries and articles that mention your family.
- Image meaningful headlines and write a journal entry about why they are important to you.
- Keep track of these images, full source citations and your thoughts in organizational software like Evernote and attach them to your family tree in your own software and in your online trees.
Meanwhile, make the most of what historical newspapers had to say about your family. More of these papers are accessible online, either directly as digitized content or through microfilm rentals or research services you can learn about online. Learn more in Lisa’s book, How to Find Your Family History in Newspapers.