Roseburg Public Library frequently receives requests to use the microfilm collection, which was moved to the library from the Genealogical Society of Douglas County a couple of months ago. It’s an expansive resource, one that complements a number of research options for local historians and genealogists, all of which are available for use in the library for free and without a library card.

The microfilm covers Roseburg-area newspapers from 1867 through 2014, and the library has two readers and one printer that can be used to access the film. If you’re looking for content published before 1923, however, there may be a simpler solution than scrolling through reel after reel of film.

Check out chroniclingamerica.loc.gov, a Library of Congress and National Endowment for the Humanities project that digitizes newspapers and makes them available for free online.

The beauty of this resource is that the newspapers are keyword searchable. Locally, select issues of the Douglas Independent are available from June 15, 1878, through December 27, 1884, and select issues of the Roseburg Review are available from January 24, 1885 through September 19, 1889. The library’s public computers are available to access Chronicling America.

The library also has microfilm of census records, immigrant passenger lists, land grants, death indexes for Oregon and a number of other states, and other treasures.

Speaking of treasures, one of the library’s hidden gems is its vertical file, which is a cabinet chock-full of newspaper clippings, brochures and booklets organized by subject. By far the most popular topic is the 1959 Roseburg blast, and there is a folder as well as a locally printed book to which we direct patrons. Copies can be made for 25 cents per black and white copy and 50 cents per color copy.

Another fantastic historical resource is the map collection. My favorite is the regional relief map, but there are all kinds of maps, including topographical, Oregon cities and geological.

If you want to enter a time warp, take a peek at the local yearbooks, or browse the city and rural directories to get a snapshot of this area’s people and businesses at a particular point in time. The Genealogical Society recently made these items available to library patrons.

Roseburg Public Library is a great place to visit for local history resources, and keep our friends at the Genealogical Society of Douglas County (located in the Douglas County Courthouse) as well as the Douglas County Museum in mind. They have experts on hand and a wealth of material on this region’s history and genealogy.

See you at the library!

Kris Wiley is the director of the Roseburg Public Library. She can be reached at 541-492-7051 or kwiley@cityofroseburg.org.

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