Library digitizes Enterprise archives

Taking a look into the history of Swanton has been made easier thanks to a project by the Swanton Public Library. The library has digitized its microfilm collection of The Swanton Enterprise, with editions complete back to 1922.

“With technological advances, digitization of resources has become increasingly mainstream,” said Janelle Thomas, library director. “It is important to us that we remain relevant.”

Patrons who wish to view The Swanton Enterprise may link to the online database from the library’s website. Digital editions will also be stored on an external hard drive available on library premises.

The library’s microfilm machine only offers read-only technology. It also lacked an index, making searching difficult. “The machine also lacked any printing capability, so it was impossible to print images without taking a picture of the machine’s screen, which is not a very effective means of printing quality photos,” Thomas said.

The current microfilm machine will remain for viewing onsite.

Library officials felt it was an important project to undertake.

“I believe it came across as a worthwhile method to keep our resources current and in-line with community needs,” said Thomas. “Researching the collection is now much more efficient and productive.”

The first issue in the collection is the Oct. 26, 1922, newspaper. The front page of that issue featured a collection of local stories as well as ads.

One short article was on a Swanton football team traveling to Lansing for a big game. “Reports received from there by Coach Haynes says that already 4,000 tickets have been sold for this game and the management there looks for twice that many at the game,” the article said. The admission price was also increased from 50 to 75 cents.

Also on the front were ads for C.J. Brindley & Son home furnishers and F.J. Curtis, which was selling children’s coats, winter “und’wear,” and 10 pounds of granulated sugar for 75 cents.

Featured prominently on the inside pages were a number of advertisements for businesses both in Swanton and Toledo. An ad for Tiedtke’s alerted readers to the store’s 29th anniversary sale. A few pages later was an ad for The Lion Store and its 65th anniversary sale.

Stein’s on Summit Street in Toledo was offering natural raccoon fur coats for $185.

Local advertisements included those for Koepfer Hardware Co., Swanton Fire Insurance Agency, the Swanton Milling & Elevator Company, Batchman’s Corner Grocery, and The Gordon Lumber Co.

The library took advantage of an end-of-the-year sale with a vendor they had researched, Advantage Preservation. The company has also worked with other Ohio libraries for digitization projects.

“We’d been fortunate to have had an efficient year financially, and so had end of year funds available to cover the costs,” said Thomas. “In the end, it was a savings of $30 per reel. To put that in perspective, the library’s microfilm collection contains 46 reels. So it truly was a large cost savings.”

A direct link to the database is available at and a link is also available on the library’s website at

Thomas noted that when searching for earlier editions, the typesetting styles were much different than what is used today. The Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software that was used to index the collection has limited ability to interpret the old typesetting styles.

“So some results that are retrieved may appear a bit like gibberish until you open the actual newspaper page,” she said. “But all editions are certainly searchable and will retrieve pages with keywords included in the search query.”

For more information or for assistance accessing the digitized content, patrons may visit or call the library during regular business hours. One-on-one appointments are also available.

The Oct., 26 1922 issue of the Swanton Enterprise is the first in the digital collection offered by the Swanton Public Library. Oct., 26 1922 issue of the Swanton Enterprise is the first in the digital collection offered by the Swanton Public Library.
Papers date back to 1922

By Drew Stambaugh

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Drew Stambaugh can be reached at 419-335-2010 or on Twitter @Swan_Enterprise