Historians and genealogists have a new resource available to search Otoe County newspapers.
The Morton-James Public Library has been working with a company called Advantage Preservation from Iowa to digitize microfilm copies of the Nebraska City News-Press and the Syracuse Journal-Democrat.
A link from the Morton-James Public Library’s home page (www.morton-jameslibrary.com) takes searchers to the home page of the online newspaper preservation project.
So far, all the Syracuse papers have been digitized, said Morton-James Library Director Donna Kruse, including the Syracuse Journal (1878 to 1917), the Syracuse Herald (1888 to 1898), the Syracuse Democrat (1896 to 1917) and the Syracuse Journal-Democrat (1917 to 2015).
Back issues of the News-Press in its various forms, from the Nebraska News in the late 1850s, through the Nebraska City News (1858 to 1925) to the Nebraska Daily News Press (1925 through 1954)  are available through the 1930s, she said, with the addition of another 50 rolls of microfilm, which equals about 10 years of papers, planned soon.
Kruse said in the first month that the digital newspapers were online, 179 users conducted 326 research sessions, with interest growing since then.
According to Kruse, the project began in December 2015 between former library director Rasmus Thoergersen, Syracuse Librarian Sue Antes and Advantage Preservation.
At a Nebraska City City Council meeting in June 2018, Kruse said an additional 180 reels of historic Nebraska City News-Presses, along with 30 reels of other historic Otoe County newspapers, could be digitized in the future.
She told the council that the library received a $150 donation from someone in Florida in late June to help with future digitization costs.
Kruse said that another individual made a donation to the project after the 2018 AppleJack festival because of work library staff did for them.
The digital newspaper archive is just one project library staff have been working on, said Kruse.
Other projects in the new year include the hiring of a youth services manager; the temporary relocation of library materials to the lower level of American National Bank while the library’s heating ventilation and air conditioning system is replaced this spring;the 2019 summer reading program, “Universe of Stories”; and the hosting of the Library Innovation Studio  from October 2019 through March 2020, thanks to a grant from the Nebraska Library Commission.