ICPL Debuts New Microfilm Reader

Iowa City Public Library patrons hoping to access news articles from years past have a new tool at their disposal.

The Library recently acquired a ST ViewScan II microfilm reader. This new scanner not only allows users to read microfilm, but includes features that enhance the process. For instance, microfilm that is scratched can be made to look almost new on the scanner’s screen, thanks to auto adjust tools.

“We do have some film that is difficult to view on the other scanners,” says Maeve Clark, coordinator of adult services. “This scanner has the tools to enhance images so that you’d never know the film was old.”

The ST ViewScan II has three modes — Simple, Standard and Advanced. Simple mode allows users to view and capture images. The standard mode does this, too, but also offers easy editing tools and additional output options. The Advanced mode goes a step further, offering powerful view, capture, edit, enhancement, research tools, and output options. Library patrons can choose a mode at the beginning of each session that suits their needs.

As always, patrons can print copies of the newspaper images for 10-cents each, but the new scanner also allows individuals to send the images to their e-mail account. Patrons can even download the images to a USB flash drive.

Clark says the Library’s microfilm is a popular research tool for individuals researching genealogy. Other patrons have sought out specific newspapers to celebrate a birthday or anniversary.

“We even have writers who come in to research a specific time period,” Clark says. “For example, if someone was writing a story that takes place in the 1940s, they might come in to look up newspaper ads from that time. This is really just another tool in our toolbox to help people find the information they need.”

The ST ViewScan II microfilm reader is located on the Library’s second floor, behind the computer area. For assistance in using the machine, visit the Information Desk on the second floor.

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