DTN's microfilm now in hands of library staff


History buffs who want to know details from an event that occurred in Adairsville in 1954 now have an easier way to retrieve the information. 

The Cartersville Public Library and The Daily Tribune News have teamed up to offer Bartow County residents a better way to research past newspaper articles on microfilm.

The partnership solved a problem each organization had — the library had a good scanner on loan from the Georgia Public Library Service but very little microfilm, and the newspaper had microfilm dating back to the 1914 Bartow Tribune but a machine that had seen better days.     

"Mindy [Salamon, DTN's office manager] called to see what we have because the paper’s machine isn’t very healthy anymore," said Jill McAllister, the library's director of finance and outreach. "Our reader was definitely needing to be retired. However, the library stopped getting the microfilm over 10 years ago so we only had a 20-year span of Daily Tribune microfilm for public use. I think they were telling people to come here, and we were telling patrons to go there, not realizing we each had insufficient equipment."

In June, the library was able to borrow a new microfilm scanner from GPLS to use this summer.

About the same time, the staff received information about an opportunity for the library to purchase a scanner of its own this fall through grant funds, McAllister said, adding the final decision on what scanner to buy hasn’t been made yet.  

"So I called Mindy to see if they would allow the library to house their microfilm so patrons could view it on a new scanner," she said. "We picked up the microfilm last Friday [the 17th], and it’s currently being cataloged and prepared for use in Special Collections upstairs. Thank you to the Daily Tribune for their partnership." 

Publisher Alan Davis said he is "very happy that the Cartersville library is taking over our microfilm archives."

"Preserving past issues of the Daily Tribune for our community has always been a goal," he said. "The new equipment at the library will provide much better access to review and copy these back issues. I also believe having the archives located at the library will encourage more people to use this resource. Thanks to everyone at the library for taking on this project."

McAllister agreed. 

"The Daily Tribune is an important resource for local history research, and we often hear from patrons about the need for a good scanner to view the films," she said. "Now we will have a way for Bartow County residents and other interested patrons to view the papers on a machine that prints and has a few other nice features."

Among those "nice features" are the ability to crop, enhance (clean up) and edit scans; add notes and highlight; print (15 cents per page) and email scans; and save to a flash drive.

Two library employees in the processing department must catalog and process each roll of the newspaper's microfilm, which could take a while, according to McAllister.   

"I’m hoping weeks; however, it’s not first on their priority list back there," she said. "New materials are always going to be top priority in order to get them on the shelf quickly. They have a defined list of what takes priority on a daily basis."

But in the meantime, patrons who need to view the microfilm can ask for the years they need, "and we will retrieve the film from our processing department," McAllister said, noting library employees will be available to help them learn how to use the scanner.

Besides copies of the newspaper, the library also possesses film of various local historic papers from 1840-1907, the Northwest Georgia Document Preservation Project and U.S. Census records.