Preserving the Past, Informing the Future
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Articles about CNP were published in various community newspapers throughout the run of the project. During the cataloging phase, the articles concentrated on our effort to locate and catalog Connecticut newspapers and often stressed the interesting and unusual newspapers that were published in the state. For example, an article in the Bethel home news for Aug. 3, 1994 highlights other, older newspapers published in the town, using information gathered by CNP. Later articles stressed that newspapers were needed to complete our bibliographic knowledge or to fill gaps in the run to be microfilmed.
Major articles appeared in regional newspapers like the Herald press [New Britain and Middletown], the Hartford courant, and the Connecticut edition of the New York Times. Other articles reached the library audience through the newsletters of the Connecticut Library Association and the State Library. John J. Connell, Jr. of the Library of Congress has compiled a bibliography of all articles about projects in the United States Newspaper Program, including CNP. A more complete list is in the appendices, giving the full citation for each of these articles. In addition, a copy of the New York Times article is included.
The article in the Hartford Courant appeared in March 1998. The full text can be found on the CNP site. The article stressed the importance of newspapers for historical research, especially genealogical research, the need for preservation microfilm and the variety of newspapers published in the state. After the article appeared, thirty-four citizens called seeking information about newspapers they owned. Many were interested in donating their newspapers to the State Library or another institution. As it turns out, many of these titles had already been the object of microfilming project. However, one person donated 21 previously unknown issues of the Litchfield County leader from 1892.
Early efforts to send a press release to local libraries, historical societies and town newspapers when a newspaper was selected for microfilming had some small success in generating additional issues to fill gaps in the run to be filmed. Our first filming project, the family of the Deep River new era, did not gain any issues as a result of the article that appeared in the Main Street news (June 27/July 10, 1996). But two private collectors loaned issues in the family of the Stafford press as a result of word-of-mouth information and another loaned a few issues of the Woodbury reporter due to a newspaper article in Voices on Feb. 11, 1998.
The effort to send out press releases was discontinued in the last two rounds of the grant, more a result of the pressure of work than by choice. Even though little resulted in the way of additional issues made available for filming, the continued presence of CNP in news articles would have kept the notion of the preservation microfilming before the public and the boards of libraries, historical societies and newspaper publishers.
CNP did maintain a presence at the annual meeting of the Connecticut Library Association with a poster and brochures in the exhibits hall. The CNP homepage and the State Library's History and Genealogy (H&G) Unit's "Connecticut Newspaper Resources" page, continue to present information gathered by CNP to the public. A copy of the most recent brochure and the first page of the CNP homepage and H&G Newspaper page are in the appendices.
Plans To Continue Now That The Grant-Funded Project Has Ended
Janis Lefkowitz, the Coordinator for the Connecticut Union List of Serials at the State Library, maintains regular contact with all the participants in the Connecticut Newspaper Project. At least once a year she gathers updates to their holdings information and enters the changes on OCLC.
The Preservation Office at the State Library is continuing many of the microfilming goals of the CNP. Work is still needed to educate local institutions about preservation microfilming. While the calculations haven't been revisited lately, in 1999 it was estimated that 2.75 million pages needed preservation on microfilm. Since June 1999, CNP has completed its work filming approximately 745,127 pages. Other institutions have filmed approximately 273,000 pages on their own. This still leaves over 1,000,000 pages in need of filming.
Of the 169 towns in the state, CNP filmed newspapers from 92. Another 30 never had newspapers. The map in the appendices illustrates these facts. What it does not show is the number of towns where microfilming is still needed. Only 25 towns are completely caught up with microfilming every newspaper; 114 towns have at least one title that awaits preservation.
The majority of what remains to be filmed is an ever-growing category: the post-1950 weekly newspapers that do not get filmed on an annual basis and are still being published. They could be the basis for another major microfilming project. The Preservation Office will continue to encourage local libraries, historical societies and publishers to film their town newspapers. New England Micrographics, the company that did much of the filming for CNP, estimates that it costs just $100 to $150 to film a weekly newspaper, if it is done annually (last year's newspapers). This fact will be promoted to encourage more regular filming projects.
Cooperative filming projects like the one the State Library has with the North Haven Memorial Library can serve as a model. Each year, North Haven sends the town newspaper to be filmed and pays the full cost, including two service copies. One service copy is sent to the State Library with a bill that reflects half the cost of the total project (not just the cost of one extra service copy).
Highlight: Multiple Efforts To Film The Norwich Bulletin
Using newspapers from the collection of the State Library and the publisher, CNP filmed 1900-1949 of the Norwich bulletin. At that time only 1982 to the present had been filmed, the result of an annual commitment by the publisher to preserve current issues. At this time (October 2002), the Otis Library in Norwich, Conn. is working with the State Library and a vendor to write the specifications to film portions of the Norwich bulletin, starting with 1899 and gradually going back to 1858. The Otis Library, which now possesses the holdings of the publisher's office, will borrow from the State Library as needed.
The Norwich bulletin represents another major category of newspaper that still needs microfilming. About 75 years (1858-1899 and 1950-1981) still need filming. Although the Otis Library is addressing this particular title, other pre-1950 daily and weekly newspapers are deteriorating on all repository's shelves. Starting next fiscal year, an annual allocation will be used to continue microfilming newspapers in the State Library's collection. One of the last titles selected by CNP was the New Haven evening leader (1892-July 1916, 92,862 pages). Work on this title is not complete. Collation has begun on issues from Aug. 1916-1926. Already over 25,000 pages are ready for filming. Obviously more repositories need to contribute to this effort and the State Library will continue to promote the need for preservation microfilming.