The Huron County Library is honoured to receive the Ontario Library Association’s (OLA) Archival and Preservation Achievement Award for the Huron County Digitized Newspaper project.
Virtually presented to library staff at the OLA Super Conference on Feb. 2, 2022, the award recognizes significant achievements in the field of preservation and/or conservation for library and/or archival materials.
Beginning in 2014, the digitization project has been a collaboration between the Huron County Library, Huron County Museum, the County of Huron, and the local community. The project has resulted in the digitization of more than 350,000 local newspaper and magazine pages from microfilm and hard copies. This collection preserves more than a century’s worth of local history from communities across the County.
“The Huron County Library has always been one of the most modern and innovative library systems in the province.” said Huron County Warden, Glen McNeil, “The Digitization Project is just one example of its leaderful and progressive work. Congratulations to everyone involved in this project. The recognition received is well deserved.”
The online collection brings together newspapers and magazines, spanning from 1848 to 2019, in one convenient location that anyone can access, for free, from anywhere there is an internet connection. Over the past two years, as libraries and museums were shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, teachers, students, researchers, historians, and genealogists could still easily access Huron County history from around the world. In 2021 alone, the digitized newspaper collection received close to 20,000 visits, making it one of the most popular online resources that the County of Huron offers.
“The digitization project serves as an important contribution to improving access to community history for researchers, historians and genealogists, who continue to expand our understanding of our rural past,” said Beth Rumble, Director of Cultural Services and County Librarian. “New content is being digitized and added to the collection on an on-going basis, further preserving our archival resources for generations to come.”
Support for this project from the community has helped shape the success of this project.
“We appreciate how the news of the day provides tidbits and notes of interest to many researchers and are impressed how this remarkable project has evolved to become a rich asset to our community,” said Rhea Hamilton-Seeger, on behalf of the Huron County Historical Society. “We are proud that this unique resource was made possible through the foresight of the Huron County Museum and Huron County Library and is used not only in Huron, but across the digital world.”
With members across Canada and the United States, the Huron County Branch, Ontario Genealogical Society (OGS), having access to this digital collection has helped those researching their families’ Huron County roots.
“Newspapers provide a snapshot into our ancestors’ lives that is not available in government records,” said Huron County Branch, OGS, Chair Debra McAuslan. Having these available digitially for much of Huron County is a unique resource for an rural area in Ontario and we are grateful to the Huron County Library and Huron COunty Museum for making this possible.”
Watch the award presentation on YouTube: Ontario Library Association Awards Ceremony 2022 (presentation to Huron County Library starts at 35:15)