2022 DigMich Newspaper Grant Finalists


Congratulations: East Lansing and Mount Clemens 

Named the 2022 Michigan Digital Newspaper Grant Winners!

Thank you to all who participated in the 2022 grant competition voting!


Constantine 


Applicant: Constantine Public Library

Newspaper: Constantine Advertiser Record/Advertiser Record

Dates: 1924-1972

Special Features:

Constantine, Michigan has a rich history of publishing a local newspaper; the first on record was the Constantine Republican; Central Michigan University’s “Digital Michigan Newspaper” website (digmichnews.cmich.edu) states that this newspaper began publishing in 1836; the village was incorporated in 1837.  Although there were periodic gaps in publication after that, along with new editors and several title changes on the mastheads, a local newspaper existed in Constantine until the early 1970s.

Most frequently housed within the village’s one-block commercial district, the newspaper office and printing press were a hub of the community.  The offices were believed to have had an “open door” policy, and locals could freely drop in to speak directly with the editor—at least one of whom relocated his presses from a second story location to one on the ground floor, saying it would make it easier for village residents to do just that!

The Constantine Township Library currently houses microfilms taken from original but now deteriorating copies of one particular title, the weekly Constantine Advertiser Record / Advertiser Record. Perusing these newspapers, one acquires vivid snapshots of people:   our parents, grandparents, and even great-grandparents, including their families, their churches and schools, the social organizations they belonged to, the community boards they served on, the published opinions of their neighbors, advertisements from the merchants they patronized along with the types and cost of the goods those merchants carried, and so much more!

Reasons Why These Newspapers Should be Digitized:

Every extant local newspaper from bygone years brings community histories out of the shadows and back into the light.  However, many of those published years ago in very small towns, if not archived, were simply lost forever once publication had ceased.

Constantine is extremely fortunate; our library holds a forty-eight year run of the weekly Constantine Advertiser Record / Advertiser-Record newspaper, on microfilm.

Please give serious consideration to helping the Constantine Township Library begin upgrading accessibility to this long-running chronicle, allowing current and future patrons to more readily learn about the week-to-week history of one small rural Michigan town--quite similar perhaps to many other small rural Michigan towns--by enabling us to begin digitizing one of the historic newspapers of Constantine.


East Lansing (Winner!)


Applicant: East Lansing Public Library

Newspaper: East Lansing Community Life, East Lansing Press, and Towne Courier

Dates: ELCL: 1919-1926; ELP: 1930-1934; TC: 1963

Special Features:

Local newspapers play an important, irreplaceable role in our lives. They strengthen communities. The distinguishing characteristic of a community newspaper is its commitment to serving the information needs of a particular community.

The East Lansing Public Library (ELPL) wants to preserve these pieces of local history and provide greater access to this important historic knowledge.  These papers focused solely on the city of East Lansing. They featured articles on local heroes/sheroes, neighborhoods, area schools and sports.  Digitizing the collection will make them far more accessible to the community and beyond.

One of the important things about a local newspaper is that most of the news impacts its readers directly. These papers provide details about events that shaped the city of East Lansing. For those who grew up in the city, they can trace events that happened in their family and learn details that might not have been passed down verbally.

Michigan State University (MSU) is located within the city of East Lansing, directly across from the downtown business district.  This proximity has directly shaped the growth and change of the city.  These local newspapers have benefited the nearby businesses. Small business owners connect with community members via local newspapers. A strong, locally based small business community can improve economies in myriad ways, creating jobs in the community and contributing tax dollars that can be used to strengthen local schools and infrastructure. And local newspapers do their part by providing affordable and effective advertising space to local business owners looking to connect with their communities.  Anyone interested in the changing landscape of East Lansing can track it through East Lansing Community Life, East Lansing Press and the Towne Courier.  Digitizing these papers would provide easier access to those people wanting to learn what East Lansing was like through the years.

Local newspapers continue to serve as valuable resources for readers interested in learning more about and becoming more involved in their communities. These papers that focused solely on events happening in East Lansing provided important stories that directly impacted the people who resided there.  Providing access to these papers through digitization would greatly improve the services ELPL offers to the community.  Thank you for this opportunity.

Reasons Why These Newspapers Should be Digitized:

During the pandemic, the East Lansing Public Library (ELPL) has seen an increase in patrons requesting access to the materials in our Local History collection.  The need for connection to people and places has become so important.  Also, learning about our shared history makes the connection come alive.

ELPL has four core values and accessibility is one of them.  The other three are community, innovation, and knowledge.  One of the major purposes of digitization is to enhance access and improve preservation of our library materials. 

ELPL provides free and equal access to library resources and facilities.  Digitization improves access to library resources. By digitizing this collection of newspapers, information will be accessible to all instead of a group of researchers. Digital projects allow users to search for collections rapidly and comprehensively from anywhere at any time. Digitization makes the invisible to be visible.

Covid has caused a disruption in library attendance.  Some people are not comfortable coming into the library and prefer to access our resources online.  Digitizing these resources allows all patrons the ability to utilize these important pieces of our history. 

There were also months when the library was closed to the public.  This resulted in loss of revenue and loss of access to resources.  Digitization of these papers would improve the library’s ability to provide open access and a higher quality of service to patrons needing these materials. 

Additionally, digitally converting paper-based documents into an electronic format is a way to safeguard our important materials and provide patrons with quick and easy access when they need them.  As you know, older newspapers need special care to preserve them.  Digitization will alleviate concerns about patrons handling the physical newspapers.

Digitization would also free up much needed physical space in our library – space that is at a premium in our Local History room.  It would allow other materials that are currently housed in storage to be incorporated into the collection and be made available to patrons.

ELPL does not have the funds to digitize these resources and would be thrilled to be the recipient of this amazing opportunity.


Lapeer


Applicant: Marguerite deAngeli Library Branch - Lapeer

Newspapers: Lapeer County Democrat, Lapeer County Republican, Lapeer County Clarion, and Lapeer County Press

Dates: 1878-1924

Special Features:

Lapeer County’s rich history began long before it was incorporated in 1822 as the 7th county in Michigan. Lapeer County’s area newspapers feature articles about Native American History as Lapeer County was home to an “Indian School” and burial grounds in Elba Township and a burial dig site in Goodland Township, ground-breaking legal cases regarding the rights of disabled persons tried at the Lapeer County Courthouse, Michigan’s oldest operating courthouse (Haynes vs. Lapeer Court Circuit Judge), and several historical figures that called Lapeer County their home.

Prominent Lapeer County residents featured in Lapeer local newspapers include the 23rd governor of Michigan, John T. Rich; inventor and conservationist General Owen Squier whose inventions were instrumental in wireless communication and who also purchased the first airplanes for the U.S. Army Air Corp, Michigan Supreme Court Justices Joseph B. Moore and Neil E. Reid, and Newberry Award-winning author Marguerite deAngeli.  The award-winning author Marguerite deAngeli for whom the main branch of the Lapeer District Library was named.

Lapeer was also the location of the Lapeer State Home and Training School (1895-1991). It was one of the largest institutions of its kind housing more than 4,500 residents at its peak and encompassing more than two thousand acres. When it first opened it was considered one of the best facilities in the world, and it was one of the first training schools for teachers of the disabled. Lapeer newspapers are some of the few sources documenting its history from beginning to end.

Reasons Why These Newspapers Should be Digitized:

There are only two places in Lapeer County that house available microfilm of Lapeer County newspapers, the Marguerite deAngeli Library and the Lapeer Genealogical Society. Currently, because of the pandemic, only the deAngeli Library is open to access these papers. 

The deAngeli Library has only one microfilm reader available which limits accessibility. The papers were microfilmed many years ago, so the library would like to transfer the microfilmed papers to digital before the film degrades. Because Lapeer County newspapers can only be accessed in-house, requests for newspaper research are further limited because of insufficient staff and research requests that can take hours of staff time. 

A large number of genealogical, obituary, and historical information requests are made by deAngeli library patrons, as well as other people from neighboring towns and villages whose libraries don’t have access to the Lapeer County Newspapers.  Converting the newspapers to digital copies and making them available online would make them easier to search and more accessible to researchers and genealogists regardless of physical location.

Digital access would greatly enhance availability of these valuable irreplaceable historical resources.  Lapeer serves a large rural geographical area whose residents are not often able to access the rich resources available in historic documents on site.  But Lapeer residents do appreciate and support both their local newspapers and libraries.  In honor of the Marguerite deAngeli Library’s 100th anniversary, it would be a step toward preserving the history of Lapeer County for future generations; it would also foster accessibility and appreciation of these valuable documents.


Menominee

Applicant: Menominee County Library

Newspaper: Menominee County Journal

Dates: 1893-1894; 1906-1910  

Special Features:

Menominee County Journal is a weekly newspaper that was started in 1893 and is still in publication. The newspapers from the turn of the century have a wealth of information. The focus is on Menominee and surrounding UP and Wisconsin counties, with reports from all the small communities in the area. These columns provide a rich detail of local “news” and major life events.  But they also share social details such as dances, travel, visitors, as well as important “gossip” like lost mules, hunting successes, and minor as well as major accidents.   

Alongside local information, there is industry news that was important to the area for farming and logging.  State, National, and worldwide news is reported along with the stories, advertisements and advice of the day. The Journal’s format and weekly issues gave the casual reader a nice snapshot of what was important to them. A digital version will open up that historical snapshot to a current and future audience.

Reasons Why This Newspapers Should be Digitized:

I am lucky to have a vocation that lets me talk to people and there is a general interest in history.  It is not just world news/historical events, or the family milestones recorded in a genealogical chart.  People are interested in what life was really like way back when; Whenever the “when” was. My Library is across the street from the Menominee County Journal Offices.  The Journal has been local owned and locally printed in this community since 1893.  When look up something in an old Journal, I run across family names that are still on my patron rolls and I would love for them to be able to read about their grand (great grand) parents. I would like to refer those from far away, who contacted me, to the actual source, not just a small scan of part of a page. The Newspaper of the “day” provides a broad context to what it was like then.

My goal is to have the whole 125 + years of the Menominee County Journal that we have on microfilm into an accessible digital format.  This grant would be a place to begin and would help to find additional (funding) and build support to complete this project. 



Mount Clemens (Winner!)


Applicant: Mount Clemens Public Library

Newspaper: The Macomb Daily (The Mount Clemens Monitor and The Mount Clemens Press)

Dates: 1896-1921

Special Features:

The Macomb Daily has had many names throughout its life, but it has been a mainstay of the community. The newspaper functioned as the ‘social media’ for the town, having engagement, wedding, and birth announcements, obituary notices, want advertisements, local sports, and so much more. This treasured publication captures over 150 years of life in Macomb County.

Mount Clemens had weekly publications prior to 1900. The Mount Clemens Monitor was the popular publication in 1866. Daily news publication was the norm at the turn of the century. In 1901, the Daily Leader and its weekly adjunct, the Mount Clemens Press, were born. The Monitor began publishing daily in 1940. In 1942, the Monitor and Leader merged, and the first edition of the Daily Monitor-Leader was published on April 3, 1942. In 1964, the Daily Monitor-Leader was merged with the South Macomb News, a weekly, and the Tri-City Progress, another weekly which served the Warren-Center Line-Utica area of the county. After a brief run as the Monitor-Progress, the new paper became the Macomb Daily. The Macomb Daily, still published in Mount Clemens, continues to serve as Macomb County's relevant daily newspaper today.

The Macomb Daily has unique aspects that make it historically important to the community. For more than 100 years, the largest industry in Mount Clemens was mineral baths. People would come from all over the world to experience the healing properties of the mineral baths. The Macomb Daily (and the preceding names) captured this time in Mount Clemens history, through news stories, advertisements, etc.

Mount Clemens was the second biggest city, next to Detroit. Having a form of communication for all of the town goings on was essential for a social city to function. Mount Clemens Public Library is as old as Detroit Public Library, being founded in 1865. The history provided by the Macomb Daily is vast and rich.

Mount Clemens is the seat of government for Macomb County meaning that it is an administrative center for all political and municipal happenings. One such event was in 1960 when John F. Kennedy held a campaign rally in Mount Clemens. The Macomb Daily captures all of these events within the articles published.

The Macomb Daily, and specifically the Mount Clemens Monitor and Mount Clemens Press have provided special, distinctive, and even at times outlandish written records of the accounts of a small city and the surrounding towns; all along with bringing history and heart to the county of Macomb.

Reasons Why This Newspapers Should be Digitized:

As one of oldest and longest running newspapers (despite living under different names), the Macomb Daily captures the rise and fall of the many different industries Mount Clemens and the surrounding Macomb County cities. The paper is a valuable and indisputable form of vast communication for all. From the current to the past publications; providing a timeline into the sharing of the information through the century. Digitizing the paper will provide access to many historians, researchers, house restorers, and others. Currently the microfilm is becoming brittle due to overuse and age, which is why we’re seeking to digitize the beginning of this publication’s run. Digitizing will allow the Mount Clemens Public Library to honor the legacy this publication has offered for over 150 years


This grant is made possible by the Robert and Susan Clarke Endowment with additional funding provided in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services through the Library of Michigan.