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Springfield City Library launches yearbook digitization project

Librarians at Springfield City Library branches are collecting high school yearbooks from the city's residents for a new initiative to digitize and archive them.

Elizabeth McKinstry is the librarian managing the project. McKinstry said people have arrived in the last week with yearbooks from relatives or deceased members of their family.

She said an exciting aspect of working at a library is the stories patrons share and how staff can sometimes impact their lives.

"Sometimes [we get people saying that] they grew up around here. 'I don't live here anymore. My brother went to a high school [in Springfield]. He passed away. I don't have any photos. Do you have a copy of his yearbook?' she said. "So we get to experience those little moments when they happen, if we have a yearbook, which a lot of them haven't had until now."

McKinstry also enjoys providing this option for residents.

"I think we're allowing people who want to reclaim that space in their home from something that, maybe it's important and that they want to see preserve, but that they don't need to be the one who preserves it. And I think that's a joyful service," McKinstry said.

McKinstry said the high school yearbooks have to be from Springfield public, private, or charter schools and can be from any year.

The Springfield libraries are a part of the central and western Massachusetts library system known as CW Mars, so anyone in the system can access the digitized catalog.

Nirvani Williams covers socioeconomic disparities for New England Public Media, joining the news team in June 2021 through Report for America.
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