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For Immediate Release
Thursday, February 24, 2022
Contact: Sonja Ferrell
Ph: 641-682-7563 Ext. 202

The Ottumwa Public Library is excited to announce that patrons can now use their website to search archived editions of local newspapers. This is the first phase in a digitization project of the library’s local history collection.

“We are so grateful to the Wapello County Board of Supervisors for funding the beginning of this project,” said Sonja Ferrell, Director of the Ottumwa Public Library. “By digitizing this information we will be preserving our history for generations to come as well as making it accessible to patrons all over the world.”

This project specifically had Advantage Archives scan and digitize local newspaper collections that had been preserved via microfilm from as far back as 1867 up until 1924. Those newspaper collections are currently in the public domain. By digitizing them the information is secured long past the shelf life of the microfilm and newspapers.

The other huge benefit to this project will be the accessibility of the information. Not only will one not need to be in the library to have access, but the information will be keyword searchable.

“Previously a person conducting research over microfilm would either need to already know dates of the information they were looking for or spend a long time scanning through reel after reel of microfilm” Ferrell said. “This will speed up the process for both patrons and staff conducting research on local Ottumwa history.”

The library is planning to seek out funds in order to continue to have the rest of the microfilm in their collection digitized as well as the scanning and digitization of the physical books and papers in their local history materials.

The website for the newspaper archives is and is linked through the library’s website