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The Denver Public Library's Microfilm Collection

Chance Grotewohl

 At the Denver Public Library, a very interesting feature is the huge collection of Microfilm newspapers. These reels, of which there are about 1 million, contain old newspaper articles, as well as entire pages! Upon a trip to this library’s 5th floor, one might notice 2 or 3 people sitting at machines that resemble large computers. These machines, called quite simply Microfilm Readers, will do just as the name entails: Read the Microfilm reels! Through a short and simple process, even you could be rifling through old newspapers, looking for traces of your ancestors, their friends, family, and even their cats and dogs!

 Microfilm reels are, quite basically, reels that have minimized print and images. At the Denver Public Library, the microfilm reels have (as explained above), very old newspaper sections. Someone could, in fact, search for articles dating back to the 1940s, during World War II, or farther. With one inserted into the Microfilm Reader, all you need to do is turn the various knobs on the machine to view the selected Microfilm newspaper. You can read old advertisements, births and deaths, and even crimes committed by citizens of the area, back when the specific newspaper was printed.
Also, some tips for when you go to the DPL in order to look through microfilm: For one, make sure that you select a paper that was printed AFTER the event you were looking for- Say an ancestor of yours was apprehended for a crime back in the 1970s. If this certain crime was committed on June 22nd, 1971 at 2:30 PM, then you wouldn’t look at a paper from the same date, but 9:30 AM, because the crime hadn’t happened yet. Nor would you look at a paper from the same date, but 12:30 PM. You might do yourself well to look at a paper from the same date, but 8:00 PM, or from the next day (June 23rd), because the crime had already been committed, reporters would have already been on the scene, and the newspaper would have been ran and published. Also, if you can’t find the newspaper you’re looking for, then either a librarian, Collection Specialist, or the person next to you may be able to help. But if your assistance can’t find it either, then the internet is always a viable option. Websites and programs like Collaborative Digitization Project, or Newspaper Archive may do the trick.
Our source for today’s article: James K. Jeffrey, Collection Specialist. He works at the Denver Public Library as a Collection Specialist- which means that he basically specializes in arranging, maintaining, and the viewing of the Microfilm collection, as well as any other collections that the Denver Public Library may have.


Really good and really informative! nice job!

I love how your story explains all about microfilms and everything pretty much about them! Great job! 

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