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Minonk Digitizing Historic Newspapers Microfilm Project Completed

Wednesday, August 15, 2018 - Posted 8:15:48 PM by Debra Blunier

Pictured above for the inauguration of the Filger Library digitizing of Minonk newspapers are from the left historian Jari Lynn Oncken, librarian Karen Podzamsky, Minonk Adminstrative Manager Bill Moline, Alderman John Marcoline, Library Director Debra Blunier and BMI and Digital Reel representative Bill Stewart

The digitizing of Minonk's historical newspapers is now complete and ready for public viewing at the Filger Library.  Minonk newspaper articles from 1873 through 2001 and Woodford Journal articles from 2002 through 2014 were transferred from microfilm to digital media.

The articles can be viewed by going to the library's website at At their website look at the right side for Find Books, Articles, Media and then click on Digitized Historic Local Newspapers This will display the Digital Reel website where you can select either the Minonk News-Dispatch or the Woodford Journal.  You can select a year for viewing specific articles or you can enter search parameters in the Search box.  It must be noted that when doing a search, you must enter the search word in quotes. 

A more detailed tutorial will be shown on this website.  In addition,  the library is planning to have a training day on August 30 frm 4 to 7 pm. 

Above is a news article from the Minonk News-Dispatch displayed on the Digital Reel website available through the Filger Library website.

Filger Librarian Debra Blunier said the library has been working on this for over 5 years - begun as an initiative by mayor Bill Koos and (then) Library Director Karen Podzamsky. Below are facts behind the digitizing of the newspapers presented by Ms. Blunier.
  • Funded by the Minonk City Council, with a generous grant of $10,000
  • Project helps preserve these resources as well as give access to the public online from anywhere in the world
  • Unique collection, microfilm of Minonk newspapers, starting in 1873 to 2015. These are only held at the Illinois State Library in Springfield, and not easily available to the public there.
  • There still are original microfilm reels and a microfilm reading machine available to patrons. But these digitized copies are now searchable by words and names, and can be printed wherever individuals have a computer and printer.
  • Filger plans a training day for patrons on August 30 from 4-7 pm, but anyone is welcome at any time if they need a little extra help with the digital site, available as a link on the Filger Library website,
  • Other area libraries have similar projects. Chatsworth, Dominy Memorial (Fairbury), El Paso, Eureka, and Martin Township (Colfax) have their local newspapers digitized. Contact the individual library for information on how to access their collections. It may be necessary to go to the library or to get an access password.
  • The digitized microfilm is a boon for genealogists, making it much faster to locate particular names and events, rather than reading through issue after issue of old newspapers, which could take hours, or even days and weeks
  • "Digitizing our newspaper microfilm is another way Filger Library is sharing its collection with other libraries and citizens throughout Illinois, and even throughout the world. People who once lived in Minonk or have ancestors and relatives from the area can now connect to whatever was in the local paper over the past 145 years"  said Debra Blunier, current library director.
  • Dave Uphoff and Colleen Weber donated actual copies of many of the historic newspapers, actually dating back to 1870. Many are in very fragile and crumbling condition, though they can be viewed with care at the library. Some of these are not microfilmed anywhere.
Individuals involved:

City of Minonk Mayor Bill Koos, City Administrator Bill Moline, Library Director Debra Blunier

Karen Podzamsky, president of the Library Board and past Library Director

Bill Stewart, BMI and Digital Reel representative

Jack Marcoline, City Council Representative

Dave Uphoff, in charge of

Jari Lynn Oncken, local genealogy expert

Nancy Williams, Susan Ryan, Pat Putnam, Filger staff members with digital online training

Above management consultant Bill Stewart instructs Jari Lynn Oncken on how to access the digitized newspaper articles while Bill Moline does his own research on the news articles.


Paula Henderson: I am so excited about this. I have been wanting to look up some papers from when my Dad had the dealership there! Thank you for all of your hard work.
Carole Jones: Thank you - what a wonderful resource for those of us doing genealogy research!
Corine Kinsolving: Quite an undertaking!!! Congratulations!