Update on Community Fundraiser to Preserve Village History

Jul 5, 2023 | 0 comments

Walnut Public Library District would like to thank the community for the generous donations that have been received to preserve the village history. The library has received $4,026.35 in donations from numerous individuals, including both past and present village residents. The Village of Walnut approved a donation match of $4,000 once $4,000 was received in community donations. I’m pleased to report that we have reached over half of our fundraising goal between the community and village donations! We have $5,621.00 remaining to start the digitization project! Mayor Ryan Rosenthal presented Walnut Public Library Director Jaclyn Trujillo with the $4,000 donation match on Wednesday, July 28th during the Walnut Rotary Club meeting. Mrs. Trujillo, also spoke to fellow Rotary members that day about the digitization project. 

Original Article Recap:

Walnut Public Library District has launched a community fundraiser to preserve all of Walnut’s history in THE WALNUT LEADER. The library has 69 reels of microfilm from 1893-2013 containing every issue of THE WALNUT LEADER. The leader office has every issue from 2013-current as a PDF file. “The staff and community volunteers have been working on organizing Walnut’s history collection in the library since I started my position as Director in July of 2020” said Jaclyn Trujillo. The microfilm machine we have is dated and has started needing repairs of its own. The microfilm reels are also becoming fragile and one of the reels tore only a few months ago. We have to preserve our village history for future generations. 

Libraries worldwide are starting to digitize their history collections, making data easily accessible for patrons and community members. Jaclyn has been in contact with Advantage Archives, a preservation company that works with libraries to preserve microfilm, yearbooks, old photographs, documents, and records. Advantage Archives will take our village history and make it easily accessible to any one, from anywhere, ensuring us that our past has a future. 

Advantage Archives will create a Community History Archive that the library will have linked to our website. The Community History Archive will be user friendly and easy to learn so anyone from children to grandparents can browse, share, clip, print, and share articles. The newspaper is difficult to view on the current microfilm machine and there isn’t a share or print option. When patrons are searching for information they would like to print what is found and take it with them. We currently don’t have that option with the microfilm machine. Once the newspaper is digitized and current we can continue to add other important documents and photos that are only currently accessible by coming into the library. The online archive will be a wonderful asset to past residents of Walnut, extended family members and friends who are looking for information, and for anyone who is interested in taking a digital scroll down memory lane. A nice feature tot he site is the keyword search option. If you type  “Walnut Public Library” in the search box all relevant articles will appear.The same for an individual person’s name. 

We need the continued support of our community to make this happen! The total investment to preserve Walnut’s history dating back to 1893 is $13,700.00. Once we submit the microfilm reels and PDF files it will take approximately three months to have the Community History Archive accessible on our website and available to the community. The library has established a donation account at Community State Bank in Walnut for the purpose of the digitization project. If you would like to make a donation you can do so by stopping by the bank or the library. Checks can be made payable to The Walnut Public Library with Digitizing History in the memo. Donations can also be mailed to the library at PO BOX 728, Walnut, IL 61376. Any questions should be directed to Library Director, Jaclyn Trujillo at 815 379 2159 or director.wpld@yahoo.com.

I would like to personally thank the Village of Walnut and past and present community members who have eagerly supported the library’s efforts to preserve our village history. Every donation, small or large, has made an impact. Community is much more than belonging to something; it’s about doing something together that makes belonging matter. 

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