Wanting to look back at an obituary that ran in 1970, or see how many stories have mentioned one of your loved ones over the years in the Nevada Journal?

It’s soon going to become a lot easier.

The Nevada City Council approved digitization of the paper during its meeting Monday after Scott Anderson, publisher of the newspaper’s parent company, GateHouse Iowa, authorized the Nevada Public Library to take that step.

Nevada Library Director Shanna Speer shared with the council that work toward digitization was actually started by former library director, Beth Williams. Williams had started work with Jeff Brown at Advantage Companies, and Brown has already completed the work required to digitize. Brown, she said, has worked for over a year to get a signed authorization from the newspaper company.

A little history on the library and the back issues of the Journal

The Nevada Public Library holds copies of the Nevada Journal on microfilm as far back as 1895, with backups being held by the State Historical Society of Iowa. Patrons and staff use the microfilm machine to access historical information from the newspaper.

Speer said there are many requests that come to the library from people who are searching for information, and without exact newspaper dates, it can be difficult to find what they are looking for. By digitizing the collection — which will be online and available from people’s homes — the newspaper will be more accessible and easier to search. It will have a keyword search, so people should have a much easier time finding all kinds of old stories, obituaries, ads and whatever else they might be searching for that ran on the pages of the newspaper through the years.

Speer said that digitization of the paper for the library will actually be done through the newspaper microfilm negatives that are owned by the State Historical Society, rather than those owned by the library. That’s because the film owned by the State Historical Society has never been used except to make a positive copy of the film. Therefore, there are no scratches or blemishes on the film, so it will allow for the best digital copy.

It also also important Speer said, that they stick with Advantage Companies to do the work.

“If we choose to use another vendor,” she stated in the council packet’s writeup, “we would need to use our in-house microfilm reels, which probably have scratches from the viewer machine. These scratches would cause problems and limitations with the OCR (optical character recognition for PDFs) and would make searches less effective.”

Speer said she expects very little turn-around time, hopefully within a month, to get this up and running. She said it won’t take long since most of the work is already done. She said people will be able to access the newspaper up to the year 2015. Microfilm is prepared every three years, she said, so 2015 is the start of the next three years that will become available.

Cost of digitalization is $19,350, which the library had budgeted for, and each year after, it will be about $350 to continue the process. The council unanimously approved the undertaking with Advantage Companies.

In other business:

• Josie Bailey was sworn in as the newest Nevada Police officer. Director of Public Safety Ric Martinez said he first met Bailey when they interviewed for the most recent police officer opening, and had hired Cory Morrissey. He was so impressed with her that he told her if another opening came, she would have the position. “She’s a great employee … and I’m so glad we can make her an officer,” Martinez said. Bailey is an EMT, was a firefighter when she previously lived in Kellogg and has been in the Army Reserve. Martinez said Bailey will start at the Academy next week and should graduate by mid-August. The police department is now searching for one more new officer and a new CSO to fill the vacancy. Cut-off for applications was this past Friday at noon, he said.

• The council made a decision to approve Northway Well and Pump Co. out of Marion, to work on well #5 of Nevada. They made the decision to pay $1,300 more than they would have paid to The Cahoy Group out of Sumner, because Shawn Ludwig, water supervisor for Nevada, has had very good service from Northway, which works with the city on other wells. Ludwig said whenever he’s called if there’s a problem, they come right over to help. Councilman Jim Walker, who was part of the unanimous vote for the higher bid from Northway, said this was a good lesson in how “going the extra mile with service” can make a difference.

• Matt Mardesen, city administrator, noted that bids come in this week for the baseball field project. There will be a special meeting Thursday for the council to consider funding approval.

• Mardesen said he’s been impressed with Nevada’s new NEDC director, John Hall, who he said “has hit the ground running.”

• Mardesen shared that the city has been looking into some options to provide shade on the west side of the City Hall campus shelter. They’ve been looking at options for building something that would allow for retractable shading, which would help performers at certain points of the day from looking directly into the sun.

• Fire Chief Ray Reynolds reported that the work he’s been doing with DuPont on stover stockpiles was worth it, as their findings have now made it into national fire code. He also reported that the stover sitting around here is being sold and will be moved.

• Reynolds reported to the council, after being asked about it by a council member, that Farmhouse Catering LC did have several fire code violations in a recent inspection. Reynolds said he spoke to management of the business Monday and has every confidence that they will work to correct the problems within the 30 days they’ve been given to do so.

• Parks and Recreation Director Tim Hansen said things are picking up now that the weather has turned. He said SCORE was the host site to the first of 10 tournaments scheduled to take place there on weekends this year.

• Hansen and other city leaders expressed their thanks to students who helped the city and other organizations on their annual day of service last Friday. Councilman Luke Spence also commended about the Nevada students who participated in the walkout last week.. “It took a lot of courage,” he said.

• Martinez noted that his department is back at work on nuisance abatement issues in the community and they’ve found some issues. “Snow covers a multitude of sins,” he said, “but there’s no more snow.”