The Chelsea District Library has 134 years of Chelsea newspapers on rolls of microfilm spanning from 1873 to 2012.  Though the public can access these papers by coming into the library and using the microfilm reader, the process can be challenging and tedious.  However, with support from the community, the Chelsea District Library is digitizing these newspapers, making them available online.

Each microfilm roll will be scanned and put online, making them accessible 24 hours a day, from anywhere with internet access.  Additionally, these digital copies will be keyword searchable—rather than sifting through years of microfilm searching for a story about a particular person, you can type their name and find their every mention with one simple search. “The technology  that makes keyword searching possible has come a long way in recent years, so while it still may not be perfect, it is a huge improvement from going through page-by-page.” said Sara Wedell, head of adult services.

For $100, you can sponsor the digitization of a year of Chelsea newspapers between the years 1873-2012.  Pick the birth year of someone special, an anniversary, or just a year in history that piques your interest, and make it available to the world. Adult services librarian Emily Meloche handles the library’s local history collection. “Through these historic Chelsea papers, you can see world history unfolding through the lens of our local community.” Meloche said. “It’s an amazingly rich resource.”

Making Chelsea’s newspapers available online raises the profile of the community, as researchers from around the world will be able to easily access Chelsea’s history.  But whether the historic Chelsea papers are used by an academic researcher working on a paper, or a curious Chelsea-ite looking for mentions of her grandfather,  digitized versions of the newspapers will bring Chelsea’s history to the forefront.

For more information on the Historic Newspaper Project or to sponsor a year, contact Sarah Conrad at or at (734)475-8732 ext. 228.