As a newcomer to Greenbelt I was immediately impressed by its unique history and importance in several spheres – architecture, urban planning, American political history, and local journalism, among others. And I’m convinced that Greenbelt’s history – especially as chronicled in the Greenbelt News Review – is uniquely worthy of being preserved.
Then I found out that preservation of the News Review, especially editions prior to 2002, is in jeopardy. I learned that “Over 60 years of our community’s history documented in the Greenbelt News Review and its predecessor, the Cooperator, lie in the balance as the highly acidic paper it was printed on turns to dust…If the newspapers aren’t scanned soon, they will become too fragile.” Archives in pdf format of most issues are generally unsearchable.Text can be difficult to read and photographs are poorly reproduced. Source.
What’s Needed: Digital Archiving
To preserve Greenbelt’s history, the Archive Project was created as a 501c3 nonprofit to raise the funds needed to scan over 20,000 unpreserved pages of the News Review. The result will be searchable and a complete history of the growth of Greenbelt through eight decades.
The archive project will cost an estimated $50,000 – $3,500 to purchase the scanner, more for other needed equipment, and pay for interns from the Maryland Library Science Department to do the skilled work of actually scanning the pages. $50,000 comes to approximately $2 per page for the 25,000 pages that need to be scanned. It’s labor-intensive and once will take about two years to complete.
It’s expected that the digital archive will serve students in local schools and universities and be used by researchers across the U.S. and abroad. Beyond research projects and homework, the digitized issues will offer Greenbelters a sense of their community’s identity and provide background to residents interested in Greenbelt history and culture. Source.
HOW YOU CAN HELP – THIS WEEK!
Bid Online Now
Lovers of Greenbelt and the paper have donated all sorts of valuable items and experiences for the cause. Online bidding is brisk and some items have already been taken by bidders using the ‘Buy It Now’ option. CLICK HERE to peruse and bid. So act fast!
Items on offer as of 4/30 include:
- Homemade baked goods, pottery, quilt, painting and other artworks, chairs, copies of the book New Deal Utopias and the movie “Defending Utopia”
- Experiences like garden and dinner parties, a “Hootenanny,” vacation cottage in Maine, garden consultation, art museum tour by expert, guided walk with ornithologist, acupuncture, massage, DJ services
- Gift certificates for the New Deal Cafe, Silver Diner, the Greenbelt Co-op, Maria’s Beauty Salon, Pleasant Touch and Generous Joe’s
An editor’s note about the social events on offer: they’re a great way to get to know other Greenbelters! So if you’re new to town, newly retired or just feeling sociable, sign up right away.
Electronic bidding closes Saturday, May 5 at noon. CLICK HERE for auction instructions.
Bid in Person at Luncheon
Join us at the Silent Auction/Retirement luncheon for Mary Lou Williamson (the GNR’s long-time, awesome editor) this coming Sunday May 6, 1-4 pm at the Greenbelt Marriott Hotel. CLICK HERE to buy a ticket to the event – but do it before the deadline, which is noon on Thursday May 3.
Make a Tax-Deductible Donation
Send a check made out to Greenbelt Archive Project to 12 Pinecrest Court, Greenbelt, MD 20770.
Volunteer to Help Scan
Individuals interested in helping as volunteer scanners can use the contact form HERE ON the ARCHIVE WEBSITE. Scroll to the bottom of the home page.