Peabody’s local newspaper, the Peabody Gazette-Bulletin, as well as newspapers historically published under other names such as the Peabody Gazette-Herald, Gazette Bulletin, Peabody Gazette, and the Peabody Herald, are now available online as a searchable database.
The digitization project, undertaken by the Peabody Township Library, was made possible by a donation in memory of Adele and Harold Taylor by their son, Warren Taylor.
Library director Roger Charles advised the library board at a meeting Thursday night that Advantage Preservation has completed digitizing the library’s collection of local newspapers. The oldest publication in the database is a January 1876 issue. The most current is from December 2012.
“This is a significant leap forward in the preservation of our local history since newspapers play such a critical role in that regard,” Charles wrote in a news release.
In the past, with help from the Peabody Historical Society, the library had invested in microfilm copies of the newspapers and was current with the Peabody Gazette-Bulletin on microfilm until 2004. After 2004, microfilming was discontinued because the costs had become prohibitive.
The existing microfilm records will be preserved. The physical hard copies of the newspaper currently housed in the library basement are being offered to the Peabody Historical Society. Another physical set of the newspaper plus microfilmed copies are archived at the Kansas State Historical Society in Topeka.
Peabody Township Library has made available lesson plans which will allow educators in the Peabody-Burns district to utilize the online database in their classroom teaching.
Future library plans include the digitization of other newspapers from Peabody’s past, the addition of current Peabody Gazette-Bulletin editions to the database on a yearly basis, and eventually, the inclusion of other historical items currently stored in the library such as audio interview files and some videos. Once completed, the project will be the largest digital database of Peabody history available.
“The data is available to anyone, anywhere in the world over the Internet,” Charles said. “Peabody Township Library is at the forefront of the archiving effort in this part of the country. We’ve had several libraries from across the state contact us to ask for advice on how to go about digitizing their collections.”
The digital copies are accessible through a link on the Peabody Township Library’s website, http://peabody.mykansaslibrary.org/, or by going directly to http://peabody.advantage-preservation.com/.