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Spotlight: Galva Public Library District (Illinois)

Galva Public Library District

The Galva Public Library District has given Galva and the surrounding areas access to local history dating back to the late 1800’s. That history is available online with their Community History Archive.

The Galva Public Library District is located in Galva, Illinois, serving a community of 3,570. Galva is located in Northwestern Illinois in Henry and Knox Counties. Advantage Archives is proud to partner with the Galva Public Library District in their efforts to provide their community with a way to connect with its history with a Community History Archive.

The mission of the Galva Public Library District is to provide the community with access to the rich history of Galva and the surrounding areas. The online archive, which includes The Galva News, allows for that.


We wanted to make the newspapers accessible to our local patrons as well as those not living in our community. It was a cost affordable option, and a big added bonus was the indexing of the newspaper.

~Melody Heck

Library Director at the Galva Public Library District

Melody Heck, the Library Director at the Galva Public Library District has been with the library for 44 years. Melody started out as a Library Assistant before she became the Library Director in 1996.

Melody recently took the time to tell us a little bit about Galva, the Galva Public Library District and The Galva News.

Melody is dedicated to ensuring the Galva Public Library District is meeting or exceeding the mission of the Galva Public Library. “The mission of the Galva Public Library is to provide educational, informational, cultural, and recreational resources and services to all ages of people in the Galva Public Library District. The library will provide access to the universe of information, and especially that information which is of immediate relevance and interest to the community it serves. The library seeks to accomplish its mission through prudent management and development of its resources, and by providing access to materials and services to meet the present and future needs of the community it serves. In this effort, the Galva Public Library cooperates with other libraries, and with other educational and governmental institutions. Special emphasis is places on current popular materials. The library serves as a learning center and educational center for all residents of the community.”

“We wanted to give our local communities easily accessible resources to our rich history. Digitizing the local newspapers and creating a Community History Archive allows us to do that,” said Melody.

The Galva Public Library District Archive is comprised of a collection of the local newspapers from 1879 to present.

Galva was founded in 1854 in Henry County, Illinois as a railroad town. The Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad (Burlington Route) was the first rail line in Galva. Later, a second Burlington Route and Peoria and Rock Island Railroad lines came through.

The Women’s Tuesday Club, along with the financing by Andrew Carnegie, was instrumental in the opening of the library in 1910. The library is an important foundation in the community of Galva. Besides offering access to printed materials, they also offer online access to different resources, including the Community History Archive.

The Galva Public Library provides patrons with current materials, historical content, and a variety of scheduled programs for Adults and Children each month. This helps the library be an important resource for information. Genealogists are able to use the Community History Archive, provided by the Galva Public Library, for research. Having access to this history, is invaluable to the researchers.

Today, Galva is known for their rich Swedish tradition, Scandinavian heritage and spacious parks. Victorian style architecture in homes and businesses help make this community unique.

The show of support between the library and the community is strong. Memorial funds donated to the library were able to be used to do this digitization project, which in return gave the community the ability to have easy access to the historical newspapers of the community. The Library Board felt that it was a worthy project to bring to fruition.

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

She goes on to share “We learned of Advantage Preservation from other Library Director’s in our area, that had taken the steps towards digitizing their newspaper collections.”


We wanted to make the newspapers accessible to our local patrons as well as those not living in the community. We decided to start with our local paper because the newspapers themselves were becoming crumbly.

~Melody Heck

Genealogists use the archive to research the local newspapers quite a bit, according to Melody.

“They are thrilled to have an easier way to access and search the local newspapers. Being able to search for things via a website rather than manually searching the physical newspaper or microfilm allows them to get through more content at a quicker pace. They are also able to find content that they may have missed using the manual method.”

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 was designed to serve 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 interesting content like photos, maps, atlases, history books, and much more. Currently there are no plans to add additional content to the archive:

“If there is something you’d like to see added to the archive, suggestions are welcome.”

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 are able to just type a search and hit “enter” or create a more complex search by using the query builder. There is also the ability to simply browse to a specific year, month, day or page in any (or all) publications contained in the archive.

Melody states, “This is more cost affordable option than you may think. Don’t let your history be lost to the ravages of time, preserve it!”

Advantage partners with communities just like Galva 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 Galva has created for its community. Ask them to e-mail us using the form below, or have them contact us at (855) 303-2727.

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