When I knew that I wanted to digitize our microfilm collection I started doing research into companies that provided that service. Advantage Preservation (Advantage Archives) stood out to me for many reasons. Their offerings checked all the boxes of what we needed. The ability to keyword search our newspapers in the database was essential, there was no monthly or yearly fee to maintain the database, and they’re amazing at working with a library’s budget and letting you add to your collection as time and money allows. Also, they came recommended by many other libraries in my region. Grant has been wonderful to work with!
I want to tell you how excited we are with our digitization of our old newspapers. With trepidation we sent you all 42 reels of microfilm. They were returned safely and now we have this wonderful searchable database. We can search so many ways, and the best part is, with the link on our homepage, our newspapers, dating back to 1850, are available from anywhere in the world! Now when someone in Michigan wants genealogy help, they are but a click away. Thank you thank you thank you. Progress is great!
We live in a time where people have come to expect that the vast majority of information that they are seeking can be found quickly through online searches. However, extremely specific questions like those we see with local history questions don’t lend themselves to successful “Google” searches. By providing access to this material online we’re contributing to our mission to provide material to our patrons in the manner and fashion that they now perform their research.
Our Community History Archive aligns directly with the portion of our mission that states that the public library will “maintain and improve the quality of life for all citizens of our community by providing resources and programs that enhance and contribute to individual knowledge, enlightenment, and enjoyment in the most efficient manner possible.” What could be a more efficient method to access information than a digitized collection?
Our partnership with Advantage Archives 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.
Our Community History Archive is a valuable tool for preserving and celebrating the past and guiding the future. Having access to information about the heritage of our town is important for determining our place in that continuing narrative, helping create meaning and a dynamic sense of community identity.
Sometimes, a person will come to us and say, ‘I know my aunt died in 1936 but I don’t know the right date.’ So you’re searching for the reel, looking for the right one… you can never be 100 percent sure you missed it. We could be more accurate and more timely and give people exactly what they want, rather than close to it.
We love having our digital archives available and free to anyone through Advantage Archives. We have received great feedback from our patrons and even from across the country of how grateful everyone is for this resource for genealogy and history research. Staff has also found it a great time saver when more in-depth research is needed, by allowing us to search more uncommon requests easily and quickly.
Having a primary resource is an invaluable way to get details and day-to-day information from the time period. Using a resource published after the fact is more of a review. Plus, newspapers have so much more information that you end up finding things you weren’t looking for.
The history of Dryden is so fascinating. There are so many little stories, so many people – the amazing people that came through here and settled this area and created the village, the industry, and the library itself. It’s just fascinating. And knowing those stories aren’t just buried in the newspaper or lost, or stuck on microfilm, and now are accessible, is just huge. When we know where we’ve been, where we came from, I think we can create a better future for Dryden. It’s such a wonderful village. The people are involved and care about it. So anything we can do to solidify the foundation is priceless.