Reading Fillmore County newspapers from as far back as the
1870s on your electronic device may soon be a reality.
The library directors from the five Fillmore County
libraries have embarked on a journey to digitize the county's newspapers. Upon the completion of this project, anyone
with a computer and an internet connection will be able to access these
accounts of life throughout Fillmore County's history.
The librarians have researched extensively to include as
many Fillmore County newspapers as they can find. Through this research, they have discovered
over 20 different newspapers based in communities across the county, including
(but not limited to): Strang, Shickley,
Ohiowa, Milligan, Grafton, Geneva, Fairmont, and Exeter.
Local print newspapers, including their microfilm
counterparts, will be converted to digital format, then made available on a
searchable website. Advantage
Preservation, a document management and preservation company based in Cedar
Rapids, Iowa, has been selected to execute the technical phase, which includes
utilizing Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology to make the newspaper
images full-text searchable.
This endeavor is estimated to cost upward of $36,000, and
slated to be completed by the spring of 2021 -- in time for Fillmore County's
150th anniversary. The Earl
and Jessie Wilkins Fund, a donor-advised fund that operates under the Fillmore
County Foundation, believes digitizing the newspapers of Fillmore County will
preserve historic artifacts that are central to the narrative of this
area. To this end, they have awarded a two-to-one
matching grant up to $24,000, to support the completion of this newspaper
project. Other generous support to kickstart
this campaign has come from the Shickley Community Foundation, who awarded
$3,500 to the project, and from the Fillmore County Genealogical Society, who
All newsworthy events, whether they be civic, personal or
professional will be retrievable in the digitized newspaper images. Anyone from around the world will be able to
browse and search through advertisements, articles, obituaries, city and county
events, sports and school announcements, club activities, political and court
records, and much more. One roll of
microfilm can be sponsored for $130, which typically includes at least one year
of newspaper images.
in any amount are welcome, and are tax-deductible within the extent of
prevailing laws. To make a donation, call
or visit any Fillmore County library, where donation forms and brochures
detailing the project are available. Checks
should be made payable to the Geneva Public Library Foundation.