Read All About It: Yuma Public Library District

By: Justin Cook - Advantage Archives
The Yuma Public Library digital archive provides access to the rich history of Yuma and the surrounding areas thanks to the Yuma Public Library. The online archive includes the newspaper Yuma Pioneer. 

The Yuma Public Library is located in Yuma, Colorado, serving a community of approximately 3500. Yuma is located in extreme northeastern Colorado in Yuma County. Advantage is proud to partner with the Yuma Public Library in their efforts to provide their community with a way to connect with its history with a Community History Archive.

The mission of the Yuma Public Library District is to collect, share, promote, learn and grow. Our users are foremost.

I think one of the things we enjoy most about the digital archive is the people we come into contact with. We receive calls from all over the country looking for information, mostly genealogy questions. Helping them find their answers is always a lot of fun and we get to share in their discoveries. People are always so grateful that the information is available.  ~Jeanne Triplett, Library Director at the Yuma Public Library District

Jeanne Triplett, library director at the Yuma Public Library, has been with the library for 26 years.

The Yuma Public Library not only offers access to the traditional printed materials like books, and now historical newspapers, but access to a wide variety of children and adult programs. This offering has allowed the library to become a central hub for the community, not just a library.

Jeanne is dedicated to ensuring the Yuma Public Library is meeting or exceeding the mission to – “…collect, share, promote, learn and grow…”

“Creating a Community History Archive allows the Yuma Public Library to give people, whether in the local community or further away, easier access to the community’s local history,” said Michelle Maltas, Account Manager.

Explore Yuma’s Community History Archive

In January of 1924, twelve women of the Methodist church met and organized the Yuma Woman’s Club. The purpose of this group was to help establish a public library building. Having a permanent location for the library would allow the library to expand its resources for the community.

The library collection was housed in closed cases in the town hall and began with just 40 books. This collection soon grew to 1200, and on January 31, 1925, the library opened to the public. The library was open 4 hours per week. In 1930, blueprints for a library facility were submitted by the American Library Association upon request of the town council, and $6000 was allocated for construction. By 1951, the library housed 8800 books. On May 12, 1966, the construction of a new library facility began. The cost was $50,540.

As librarians prepare to assume a new and expanded role in the community, they must continue to provide opportunities for lifelong learning. In 2009, the library moved into its present location, which provides them with 7200 square feet of space. At present, the library houses approximately 20,000 items, 8 public access computers, online access to audio/e-book and a host of in-house programming.

Yuma Public Library currently is open 49 hours per week and offers a variety of in-house programs for both adults and youth 3 days per week. In addition, the library provides an outreach story-time each week to a local daycare center. Libraries have become much more than a place to simply check out a book, we are much more of a community hub.

The Yuma Public Library became interested in digitization several years ago when a local patron discontinued publishing an obituary book. For years, she had reproduced all of the obituaries in the Yuma Pioneer. The most frequent use of our newspaper collection is for family history research, specifically obituaries. Colorado Historical Society could provide the library with microfilm, but that did not get the resource to some of the people that needed it. The Library began searching for a way to digitize and found Advantage Preservation. Yuma Community Foundation provided the library with the funding to pay for the digitization process. 

This has been a great asset to our collection and enables us to reach far beyond the library walls to serve our patrons.  ~Jeanne Triplett

She also recognizes the digital archive as an outreach or engagement tool.

“Our Community History Archive is a valuable resource for historians and genealogists because of the rich archive of obituaries and local news stories.”

The Advantage Archives Community History Archive platform serves as a “portal to the past” for communities by making all types of history accessible. Many institutions start with their local newspapers and grow the archive with new and exciting content like photos, maps, atlases, history books, and much more.

The Community History Archives are user-friendly and easy to learn. The Advantage team has 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. Users of the site can type a search and hit “enter” or create a more complex search by using the query builder. Users also can browse to a specific year, month, day, or page in any (or all) publications contained in the archive.

Advantage partners with communities just like Yuma 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.

If you would like to see more local history online, please contact your local library, newspaper publisher, genealogical society, historical society, or educational institution, and encourage them to learn more about creating a Community History Archive like the one Yuma has created for its community. Ask them to e-mail us using the form below, or have them contact us at (855) 303-2727.

Connect Your Community To Its History! Explore A Partnership With Advantage & Discover “History As it Happened “. Use the form below to connect with us, and let’s discuss way’s we can ensure your local history is easily accessible!