News Archive

Archives receives grant to digitize university newspapers

Lamar University’s Archives and Special Collections, a department of the Mary and John Gray Library, has been awarded a TexTreasures grant for more than $11,000 by the Texas State Library and Archives Commission for fiscal year 2014. The grant was made possible by provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, signed into law 1996 and administered by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

The Archives and Special Collections Department, in collaboration with the University Press, will use the funding to digitalize the library’s holdings of Lamar newspapers. Prior to this initiative, the newspapers were not indexed or available on microfilm, meaning one would have to read and conduct research with the original, fragile newspapers. After the implementation of this program, the 16,864 pages of Lamar newspaper holdings will be accessible to alumni, scholars, students, the press and the community, and the documents will be searchable by keyword and presented in full color.

“When the program is administered, these amazing treasures will be fully accessible to patrons throughout the globe,” said Penny Clark, university archivist.

Although Lamar is celebrating its 90th anniversary this fall, only 72 years of newspaper holdings will by digitized. The holdings of the Archives and Special Collections department begin in 1933, after the school transitioned from South Park Junior College to Lamar College. Lamar’s holdings continue through the present, but, as the University Press has already made newspapers available online in PDF format beginning in 2005, newspapers from 2005 onward will not need to be digitized.

“Lamar’s newspapers are a great source of history, documenting not only the administration and faculty, but also student life, ranging from sports and holiday celebrations to student culture,” Clark said. “Moreover, the school newspaper is a unique source on the changing roles of women and African Americans.”

While Lamar’s holdings begin in 1933, the holdings are incomplete until the 1961-1962 academic year, with some years either partially or totally missing. Alumni or community members who have Lamar newspapers dating before the 1961-1962 academic year are encouraged to help by donating or loaning them to the Archives and Special Collections department.

For more information on the digitizing of newspapers or to donate or loan a newspaper to the Archives and Special Collections Department, contact Penny Clark at (409) 880-7787.