Read All About It: The Dover Public Library
~ Jeffrey Kiley - Advantage Archives
The Community History Archives of the Dover Public Library allows for access to the history of Dover, New Hampshire through Dover area City Directories from 1830—1949 and Dover High School Yearbooks from 1915—2013
The Dover Public Library is located in Dover, New Hampshire, and serves a community of 31,000. Dover is located in seacoast New Hampshire, in Strafford County, and was founded in 1623. Dover is the 7th oldest city in the U.S. and will celebrate its 400th birthday in 2023. The Dover Public Library and Advantage Preservation have partnered over the past six years to digitize the Dover Public Library’s print collection of municipal and regional City Directories, dating from 1830 to the present, and also to digitize dozens of Dover High School yearbooks. Cathy Beaudoin, Library Director since 1999, has been pleased with the partnership with Advantage.
Our partnership with Advantage Preservation has benefited us in two very important ways: 1.) our print copies are no longer subject to so much physical handling; and 2.) our collections are now visible and usable online so that visitors no longer have to travel long distances to view the materials on site ~Cathy Beaudoin, Director of the Dover Public Library
Among the Dover Public Library’s seven major service areas, (which support their Mission Statement), are:
- “To function as a community repository, preserving, and making accessible, an extensive collection of historical materials about Dover, the seacoast region, and New Hampshire”;
- “To provide access to digital, electronic, and streamed content via our website and through outreach on popular, customer-focused social software platforms”.
Both of these responsibilities are partially achieved through our partnership with Advantage.
“Advantage Preservation, and Grant Kaestner in particular, have been easy to work with: cognizant of our budget appropriations, careful in handling our precious materials which we shipped to them in Iowa, and timely in their both the mounting of our online database and in the return of our physical materials. We gladly work with Grant each spring to deliver a new batch of Dover Public Library materials to be digitized.”
The library’s historical resources are heavily used and much-loved in Dover.
“Many hundreds of people visit our Marston Historical Room annually in search of their 17th, 18th, and 19th century ancestors”.
The use of these resources has increased more than tenfold since 2013. The print copies of the City Directories were in deplorable condition from so much handling, while the physical yearbooks were often subject to theft. Now members of the Dover community have access to these materials from the comfort of their home. That access is not limited to the people in Dover, as anyone can access the archive, any where they may be around the world, at anytime they choose.
It has been a great experience working with Cathy and the Dover Public Library. It is great to see the Dover community’s dedication to preserving their past, and making it available for anyone who wishes to access it. I think it is important that this history is going to be available now and in the future, so the community can connect to their past. ~Grant Kaestner, Advantage
We asked Cathy to share a little bit about the history of the Dover Public Library
“Our Carnegie building was constructed in 1904 and opened in 1905. An addition was built in 1988, making the Dover Public Library about 24,000 square feet in size. We have always been a center for local history, building on the collections of an original historical society who donated their materials when the library opened. We maintain a 4,000-item genealogy and local history collection and are one of the best institutions in New Hampshire for historical research.”
The digital archives of the Dover Public Library create a “portal” to Dover’s past, allowing the community to connect to its history in a very tangible and meaningful way. The archives tell the story of the people, places, and events that shaped Dover, New Hampshire, and the United States through the lens of those who witnessed it. It allows the community to put history in perspective, and see how the community has evolved, grown, and changed over the course of many decades.
At Advantage, we have embraced the idea that preserving history is a shared responsibility. We partner with local community publishers, libraries, and other like-minded individuals to make local content more accessible, now and in the future.
Advantage partners with communities just like the Dover Public Library across the United States, to archive & provide practical digital access to local historical content in print, that would otherwise be lost to the erosion of time.
The Community History Archives are user friendly, and easy to learn. We focused on making it as simple as possible, so that everyone…from students to grandparents (and everyone in between) can browse, search, view, clip and share articles, headlines, pages, and stories recorded in the pages of the community newspaper.. Just type a search and hit “enter” or browse to a specific year, month, day or page in any (or all) publications contained in the archive. Advantage partners with communities just like Dover across the United States, to archive & provide practical digital access to local historical content in print, that would otherwise be lost to the erosion of time.