Each month, this space will be dedicated to a library resource or service available free with your Omaha Public Library card.
True or false? You can find EVERYTHING on the Internet.
Though it certainly seems like an Internet search returns a seemingly endless number of results to any given query, there are some bits of information that are not readily available online. Before the Internet, one method of preserving print materials was through the use of microfilm. Microfilm is a length of film, usually stored on rolls, that contains microphotographs of newspapers, magazines or other print documents. While many publications are now digitized and searchable online, there are many more that remain accessible only through microfilm.
A visit to the third floor of the Omaha Public Library’s W. Dale Clark Main Library will yield way to the microfilm room, which houses microfilms of dozens of historical, local newspapers; 7,000-plus reels of census information; Nebraska marriage, cemetery and military records; and so much more. A variety of microfilm readers are also available, including readers that scan microfilm images to a flash drive and readers that print 11- by 17-inch images.
Of course, the Omaha World-Herald is available on microfilm dating back to 1889, and is also accessible through digital archives dating back to 1878. Some other publications available on microfilm include the Benson Times (1907-1959), Millard Courier (1897-1918), Omaha Bee (1872-1937) and North Omaha Sun (1958-1983). Beyond newspapers, local researchers can discover a wealth of history in city directories, church records and vital records.
The microfilm room is open to all library patrons, and library staff is happy to help patrons find what they are seeking and get started on the readers.
Research has become more accessible in some ways with the Internet, but for those who may have hit a research roadblock, microfilm may hold the answers not found in a search engine.
Learn more about the available resources at omahalibrary.org, or by visiting W. Dale Clark Main Library, 215 S. 15th St.