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Spotlight: The Leominster Public Libary

The Leominster Public Library offers the community a way to connect to its past with an archive containing over 100 years of the community’s local history from various titles.

Leominster, Massachusetts, is located in Worchester County, and it is the second largest city in that county with a population of over 43,000 people. It is also located northwest of Boston. European settlers began arriving in the mid-17th century to the area, which is now known as Leominster, and the town was named after the Herefordshire town of Leominster, England.

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“The response has been overwhelmingly positive, and I, for one, cannot imagine doing my job without it. I am currently working on a history of Leominster’s New England Novelty Company for a woman in Michigan who contacted me for information; she was wondering specifically if we had any catalogs or pictures of the items they made.”

~Diane M. Sanabria, Local History and Genealogy Librarian

Diane also stated, “the feedback is overwhelmingly positive from our patrons; the only complaint I’ve received is ‘can you please hurry up and get more years digitized!’ I had one patron tell me that if he won the lottery he was going to donate to the library so we could get more work done!”

The Leominster Archives contain historical newspapers from 1873-1988, and the following titles: The Leominster Daily Enterprise, The Leominster Enterprise, The Pioneer, The Daily Sentinel and Leominster Enterprise, and The Enterprise. The archives currently have more than 200,000 images to explore.

Diane then stated, “the digitization of our local newspaper, the Leominster Enterprise, was initially used solely for in-house research at the library. When our website was redesigned, we added a link to the Community History Archive so our patrons would have remote access to the Enterprise. The response has been overwhelmingly positive, and I, for one, cannot imagine doing my job without it. I am currently working on a history of Leominster’s New England Novelty Company for a woman in Michigan who contacted me for information; she was wondering specifically if we had any catalogs or pictures of the items they made. New England Novelty was a plastics manufacturer from 1923 through the early 1950s when it merged with Commonwealth Plastics. A search of the Enterprise using “exact phrase” revealed a wealth of information, including the exciting connection between the company and actress Martha Sleeper to produce her jewelry designs in wood, Catalin/Bakelite plastic, and metal. Sleeper’s jewelry was featured in LIFE magazine and was collected by Andy Warhol(…) Her pieces can range in price from a few hundred dollars for lapel pins to thousands of dollars for necklaces. Who knew? I wouldn’t have if it weren’t for being able to search the newspaper archives! There are so many stories like this where our Community History Archive has made all the difference.”
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I cannot sing the praises of our Partnership Manager, Grant Kaestner, highly enough. He responds almost immediately to any questions or concerns; he tracks the shipment of our incredibly precious resources, so we know where our microfilm reels are, start to finish, and he has always worked with us to give us the best price possible. His knowledge and experience are invaluable; for example, taking the time to explain why we might need to look at a different digitization process as the paper expanded to using more original photography in the 1950s or looking ahead to the merger of the paper with the Fitchburg Sentinel in 1972 and checking with them about rights to remote access. I like the fact that he touches base with us several times during the year to see what our budget looks like and what we may be able to accomplish in any given fiscal year. But he is never pushy: always just so personable and helpful.

~Diane M. Sanabria, Local History and Genealogy Librarian

Advantage believes strongly in building lasting partnerships, which is why we enter into them with the intent of shouldering our fair share by taking the burden off of the community for the ongoing costs associated with storage, hosting, development, and maintenance of their Community’s History Archive. We are proud to participate actively in the community’s efforts to make their collective history more accessible.

If you are outside of Leominster and would like to see YOUR 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 the Leominster Library has created for theirs. Ask them to e-mail us at info@AdvantageArchives.com, or have them contact us at (855) 303-2727.

Archive: The Leominster Public Library

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