Preserving a vital piece of Summit County’s history
Donations needed to support multiyear project to digitize Summit Daily News archives
Modern society has become accustomed to having a wealth of information at its fingertips with the click of a button. So much so that it's easy to forget important historical documents — like newspapers — were once solely printed and read on paper. In order to preserve vital records of Summit County’s history, the Summit Daily News is currently working on a project to digitize its archives and make them available to the public for free.
In partnership with Summit County Libraries, the multiyear project will digitize full editions from the newspaper’s inception in 1989 through 2006. Issues from 2007 to present can be found at SummitDaily.com/eedition. Fundraising for the project kicked off in April, and currently more than 1,000 digitized editions can now be found at ColoradoHistoricNewspapers.org.
“It's important as we go through this period of change — as we grow and develop as a community — to have access to stories from the past, from 20 or more years ago,” said Stephanie Ralph, Summit County Library director. “The ability to look back helps us make sense of the steps in the journey we’ve taken.”
Both the Summit County Library and Summit Daily News had physical copies of old editions archived, but these are vulnerable to deterioration, take up space, and are not easily searchable, Ralph said.
ColoradoHistoricNewspapers.org will allow for unlimited access to these records in a digitized format, easily accessible for remote as well as local users. The Colorado Historic Newspaper Collection is compiling digitized editions from many other newspapers around the state, allowing users a convenient way to search from a pool of resources on one well-maintained search engine.
“It’s not just Summit County but everywhere in the state is moving toward digitizing their collections,” Ralph said. “It’s being recognized as a really essential record of the community. … It’s not something that’s going to get done quickly, and it’s expensive, but it’s something every community should take on to preserve this piece of history because otherwise it's gone.”
The full project is expected to take three years to complete and cost about $165,000. The Summit Daily is partnering on fundraising efforts — including individual donations and grant applications — with Friends of the Summit County Libraries. The Summit Board of County Commissioners provided a $15,000 grant from the county to help fund the project in the first year with the addition of a $10,000 commitment from Summit Daily. Additional grant support has been provided by Climax Molybdenum, Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection, Rotary Club of Summit County and Pinnacle Gives.
The Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection has currently uploaded archives from 1989 to 1994, and more funding is necessary to keep the project moving.
“We are really trying to complete this project in three years, and we are looking for individuals who want to contribute through donations,” said Summit Daily News Publisher Nicole Miller. “Individual donations can be as little as $5 — every small amount can help us digitize another page.”
Individual donors can support the effort by making a contribution at SummitDaily.com/donate. All donations made in 2023 will go directly toward this project.
Tax deductible donations can be made at SummitCountyLibraries.org/get-involved/friends-library, under “Newspaper Digitization Donations.”
Miller said the newspaper frequently gets calls from community members looking for something in the archives, whether it’s an old photo of a family member, an obituary, or a look back at Summit County’s history for research.
“It’s a huge community benefit to make that historic news accessible to everyone and to offer that for free,” she said.
Blog Post Written by: Heather Jarvis