The public now has free, unlimited access to a large chunk of Aldergrove’s written history – all at their fingertips.
Back editions of the Aldergrove Star, from 1957 to 1991, have been digitized and can now be accessed and searched online, announced Alder Grove Heritage Society’s president Tami Quiring.
In July 2021, former Aldergrove Star editor Kurt Langmann donated a set of 29 microfilms to the Alder Grove Heritage Society to augment the donation of physical copies of the 1957 to 2000 newspaper and photographs previously gifted by his parents in 2003.
Later that same year, in December 2021, Alder Grove Heritage Society applied for and received financial assistance from the Library British Columbia History Digitization Centre Programme (BCHDP) to have the microfilms digitized by the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre at UBC, for inclusion in UBC’s Historic Newspaper Collection.
The funding covering about $4,200 of the total $6,800 cost, with the remaining $2,600 for the project “very generously” donated by Alder Grove Heritage Society’s supporters, explained Quiring.
The completion of part one of The Star digitization project enables anyone, anywhere in the world with internet access, the ability to read past issues of the community’s newspaper from 1957 through to the end of 1991.
“The open library collection at UBC is a valuable resource, and Alder Grove Heritage Society is very grateful to both UBC and the Library British Columbia History Digitization Centre for adding our Aldergrove Star collection and making it accessible to everyone,” Quiring said.
But there’s more to come.
The second phase of this project involves scanning original copies of The Star – January 1992 through to the end of 2000 – a process that Quiring explained is much more costly and labour intensive than digitizing the microfilms – which has since been returned to the museum.
More recently, the heritage society has received a further $11,000 from the BCHDP, the biggest chunk of the cost for phase two of the project. The remaining $6,000 required will again be covered by the society and its supporters.
“The BC History Digitization Program is pleased to support the efforts of the Alder Grove Heritage Society in digitizing and preserving the Aldergrove Star newspaper,” said Mimi Lam, BCHDP coordinator.
“Projects like this provide public online access to unique and valuable B.C. historical content is in the spirit of the program and the Barber Centre’s mission. Congratulations on the completion of the first phase of this project!”
The physical newspapers are now at UBC Library undergoing preparation for part two of the project, Quiring explained.
“Newspapers are an integral part of our history and the changes that our town underwent from the middle of the 20th century to the beginning of the new millennium, documenting everything from community and social events, economics, agriculture, politics, opinions, crimes and punishment to important milestones such as births, graduations, marriages, anniversaries and deaths,” she said.
“Their accessibility to readers now and into the future ensures that Aldergrove’s stories and those of its citizens will stay alive well into the future,” Quiring added, noting The Star is fully searchable either as a whole or paper by paper.
The Langmann family was equally excited by the news that the first phase was complete, and the second phase was in the works.
“On behalf of my mother Inge Langmann, my late father Rudi Langmann, and the Langmann family, I wish to express heartfelt thanks to the Alder Grove Heritage Society and its donors and supporters for their work in making the editions of The Aldergrove Star from the years 1957 onward, eventually to the year 2000 available to the public via the internet at any time and from anywhere,” said retired Star editor Kurt Langmann.
“I know it will bring back memories for many people, and many of these memories will be other chapters not written down at the time, but will be sparked by these Star news stories for many readers as they are for me. Some of the best stories never made it to print. I hope these stories are shared before they are lost forever.”
Projects such as this demonstrate the importance of community museums and archives and the wealth of information they hold, said Robert Stibravy, the digital projects librarian at UBC, calling The Star a “significant body of information” that has been added to the BC Historical Newspapers collection.
“Alder Grove Heritage Society is very excited to see this important project come to fruition, and it could not have been done without the gift to the society by the Langmann family of the Aldergrove Star collection, the hard work of its volunteers, the generosity of its supporters and grants such as the BCHDP,” added Quiring.
“Taking these historic editions of the Aldergrove Star online is a big step towards the society’s goal of making Aldergrove’s historic collections accessible to anyone who has an interest in our community’s heritage, and we are very grateful for the ongoing support we receive.”
To access the growing collection, people can visit https://open.library.ubc.ca/collections/bcnewspapers/alderstar.
In the meantime, the heritage society’s small band of volunteers has been working hard to catalogue, index, and scan the museum’s archival holdings as it moves towards making all of its collections available online.
Quiring said there is still much work to be done, inviting anyone with an interest in local history to join the society in its endeavours.
The Aldergrove Community Museum & Archives is open to the public Sundays from 12 to 4 p.m., plus the team is preparing for Community Heritage Day, set for Saturday, Aug. 19.
Quiring noted that donations are accepted, and as a registered non-profit charity, they can issue tax receipts.
Have a story tip? Email: email@example.com
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.