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East Lansing Public Library wins newspaper digitization grant

The East Lansing Public Library.
Michigan State Historic Preservation Office - Flickr
The East Lansing Public Library will utilize a Central Michigan University grant to digitize up to 5,000 pages of decades-old newspaper articles.

The East Lansing Public Library is using grant money to save parts of its local history.

The library will utilize a grant from the Clarke Historical Library at Central Michigan University to digitize up to 5,000 pages of old newspapers.

The library will preserve three publications: East Lansing Community Life, with articles published between 1919 and 1926; the East Lansing Press from 1930 to 1934 and the 1963 edition of the Towne Courier.

ELPL Community Development and Volunteer Coordinator Phyllis Thode says there’s an amazing range of information from the past.

“(There’s) articles about tracking science events; also historical events about the East Lansing High School women’s basketball team that won a state title,” said Thode. “You know; we found some really interesting tidbits.”

Thode says these records have been in high demand among locals since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Their parents and grandparents are talked about in the papers; so they could find articles specific to their families,” she said. “And yes, we did see a huge uptick, not only to these papers, but to items in our local history collection.”

The digitization project will start in mid-March and should be completed by the end of April.

The East Lansing Public Library will still retain the original paper copies.

Kevin Lavery is a general assignment reporter and occasional local host for Morning Edition and All Things considered.
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