Prospering Partnerships: MPH provides WPL with Digital Content

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What does this mean for Webster Parish residents? A lot! For those who aren’t familiar with Webster Parish Libraries Digital Newspaper collection, it features digital newspapers dating all the way back to 1897. These newspapers are searchable by name, place, event, and much more! Located in a digital archive and accessible online 24/7, it is perfect for historical and genealogical research. Previously, newspapers were provided directly to the library system by the Minden Press-Herald and were sent off by the library system to a third party to be digitized and bounded into books. These books are currently accessible to library visitors and are located in the Minden Main Branch Genealogy/Local History area of the library. Although this means of digitization was effective when it comes to providing access to residents, articles within the archive were often of low quality making them difficult to decipher in some circumstances.  With the help of the Minden Press-Herald, this issue will now be a thing of the past as the Minden Press-Herald is now providing the Webster Parish Libraries with born digital content going as far back as 2018. Janetta Robinson, Historical Archivist for the Webster Parish Libraries, is particularly excited for the transition. Robinson stated, “In 1972 Minden Press-Herald gifted the library early copies of bound newspapers many of which are still being used today. Patrons and staff alike enjoy browsing our bound newspapers since the quality of the images is superior to the digital. Many times in my research I will search the digital newspapers for articles, go to the articles in the bound newspapers, and then finally take pictures of the articles. Having these high-quality images will save time and provide a convenient way to complete my research. Our patrons will also enjoy the quality and convenience thanks to the Minden Press-Herald.” When asked about the new program, Savannah Jones, Director of the Webster Parish Libraries, added, “The Minden Press-Herald has always been a great friend to us. For many years they have provided a means for our patrons to access their content, and we would not be able to do so without their support. After speaking with Josh Specht, Publisher and Editor of the Minden Press-Herald, about the possibility of providing better visual quality content, he immediately jumped on board with the idea. This is a prime example of how organizations working together provide more opportunities for parish residents.”  The Webster Parish Library System will be working hard to make these papers readily available to patrons as soon as possible. For now, the online newspaper collection can be accessed by visiting websterpl.org under the ‘research’ tab. 

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