Genealogists, historians and the general public can now access digitalized issues of the Dallas County News and Northeast Dallas County Record at 12 area libraries.
Last year, the Adel, Roy R. Estle Memorial Library in Dallas Center, De Soto, Dexter, Granger, Linden, Minburn, Perry, Redfield, Van Meter, Waukee and Woodward libraries felt there was a community need to access past information and decided to write up a combined grant.
The libraries were awarded the $5,750 grant from the Dallas County Foundation last fall and then matched the remainder of the funds for a total project cost of $11,140.
Adel Library Director Paula James said by having past issues on their public access computers allows for easier and more convenient access to information.
"It’s very accessible now to the county," she said. "Before, this information was only available in Dallas Center. I feel that we are now on the cutting edge because digitization is a new thing."
Patrons of the library can access the archives on any public computer and can use a specific keyword to search past issues.
Libraries like Minburn and Van Meter are already seeing an increase in genealogists and historians at their respective libraries.
"We just had a book that came out about an occurrence in Van Meter (the Van Meter Visitor), so people are searching for information on that," Van Meter Librarian Jolena Welker said. "We have seen an increase in the last three years of people coming through looking for certain pieces of history and genealogy. It’s a big deal."
Minburn Library Director Leah White said she receives obituary inquiries on a daily basis and would have to direct those individuals to the library in Dallas Center.
"Being able to put this new system onto our public computers is incredible," she said.
James added best part about the project is that it allows for both smaller libraries and larger ones to provide the same service to their patrons.
"It’s really exciting because places like Linden, Minburn and Van Meter are smaller libraries, but they can offer the same services as the bigger libraries now," she said.