Jonesboro Public Library launches fundraising campaign for scanner

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - A project of historic proportions is underway at the Jonesboro Public Library. It's called Timeline and involves scanning hundreds of photographs and documents that people have stored away in closets and attics.

"What we are doing with the digital photos project is that we are trying to encourage families, citizens in the community, businesses, organizations, whoever has historic photos of Jonesboro and Craighead County, to share them with us," Nathan Whitmire, technical services manager for the Jonesboro Public Library said. "Because of what we are doing, it is creating a catalog of historic photos to enjoy."

Cataloging all those items can be a daunting task.

"When I say catalog, it's not just scanning them and putting them on a website. We're cataloging them and giving them titles. If we have the information, we are actually putting in summaries of what the information is for that photo or a series of photos," Whitmire said. "An entry can be one photo or an entry can be 50 photos, if we have a series. We have one that's a collection of Christmas parades from the 1950's. So, there's a series of about 50 photos in there."

The Timeline project has made library staff keenly aware of the need for a new scanner.

"The technology that we have in the building is limited. We can do originals that are up to 11x17, which is probably one page of a large scrapbook," Whitmire said. "What we have to do with many of these is we have to take the scrapbook apart and hand place each one of those originals down."

The library is hoping for donations to absorb the cost of a scanner able to accommodate larger pages.

The cost of the new scanner is $25,000. But, Whitmire believes it would be money well spent.

"So with the book scanner, we would be able to lay that photo album face up and flip the pages," Whitmire said. "All we have to do is scan the page one time, then flip the pages. That helps these delicate scrapbooks to stay intact and we can accomplish what we want to do with the project."

Anyone bringing documents or photographs in to the library to share with the Timeline project can get a flash drive with a digital copy for participants. To find out more about the  Timeline or to donate to help defray the costs of a new scanner, contact the Jonesboro Public Library at 870-935-5133.

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