Have you ever wanted to look back at old Desert Sun newspapers and see what happened on a certain day? Previously, you had to know exactly what date you wanted to search and make an appointment here at the Palm Springs Public Library to view our microfilm. If you have ever looked at a newspaper on microfilm, you might remember that carsick feeling you got when you advanced the reel. Want to print? Good luck getting a clear copy. With the Library’s new project, “Accessing the Past,” those days are over!
Simply by visiting www.accessingthepast.org you can click on our featured Desert Sun collection and start your search. We currently have 1944-1973 available but are expanding content and filling in the gaps soon. Once our project is complete we will have full-text versions of The Desert Sun from 1934-1999 that are completely keyword searchable. You can download an article, the full page, or the full newspaper issue.
This project was made possible in part by the Institute for Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, administered in California by the State Librarian. The Palm Springs Public Library has received two grants from the California State Library totaling $120,000. It is hopeful that the library will receive grant funding for a 3rd year to continue the project. To further enhance “Accessing the Past,” the Library Board of Trustees has provided $50,000 to purchase a high-quality, archival-level scanner. Additionally, the Webb Foundation has given a gift of $2,500 to help with the purchase of the scanner and related equipment. We hope to have the scanner soon and start offering demonstrations.
For a full list of community partners, visit www.accessingthepast.org. We hope that once the scanner is ready, our community partners can start adding content online too. Jeannie Kays, Julie Warren, Scott Biegen or any of the Librarians can answer questions you might have about the project. We will be looking for volunteers to help scan our archive when the scanner arrives and will gladly train you!
Someday the Library plans to schedule “shoebox days” where people can bring in their old photos of the Coachella Valley and allow us to scan the images. Anyone who gives us permission to scan their photos will leave with their items, plus a CD or a memory stick with their scanned photos. We would then add the historically significant photos to our online archive. Stay tuned for upcoming events. We hope that you get as excited about this project as we are and we look forward to you “Accessing the Past.”
Jeannie Kays, Library Director