November 21, 2022:
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) –The Springfield City Library recently requested high school yearbooks from the public to digitize its history and is still missing several volumes.
High school yearbooks are the second most requested local history item at the city’s public libraries. So the library is trying to digitize as many Springfield high school yearbooks as they can. They have already received hundreds of yearbooks, photos, patches, programs, and other memorabilia but are requesting the following top 10 most wanted yearbooks:
- Classical: 1965, 1971, 1980
- Tech: 1950, 1955
- Commerce: 1959, 1960
- Putnam: 1951, 1952, 1957
You can donate yearbooks at any of the nine library locations. All Springfield high school yearbooks are welcome, public, private, or charter. They will be sent to an organization, Digital Commonwealth, to be scanned, and put on the internet.
“Yearbooks are the second most requested local history item, after newspaper articles,” says Elizabeth McKinstry, a reference librarian who’s leading the yearbook digitization project. “It’s so disappointing when we don’t have the yearbook people seek. But we love to see faces light up when someone revisits a high school memory or the picture of a loved one. We want to give that experience to anyone looking for an old yearbook, whether here in Springfield, or anywhere in the world, via the internet.”
Frequently Asked Questions according to the Springfield City Library:
Q. Why yearbooks?
A. After newspaper articles, yearbooks are the most common local history reference request we get. We have a very small, patchy collection at present, and we would love to have a complete, accessible collection, that can be viewed at Central Library during all open hours!
Q. Can you just borrow my yearbook, scan it, and give it back to me after you’re done with it?
A. Not at this time. Getting these yearbooks cataloged, organized, and sent off for digitization will take close to a year, and we’re worried we might have trouble finding you again. Also, we want people to be able to come to the library and see yearbooks in person. But if you want to talk to us further about your yearbook, you can reach us using the contact information above, and someone from the yearbook team will reply!
Q. What if you get a lot of duplicates?
A. We’ll keep them! We’ll send the best one off to be digitized, but we will not throw out any yearbook that’s not already extremely damaged. It’s common for libraries to keep multiple copies of items that are hard to replace.
Q. How soon will all the yearbooks be online?
A. We hope within 12 months. This will depend on many factors not in our control, though, like the wait list at Digital Commonwealth, how quickly donations come in, and how complete our collection becomes.
Q. Are you considering digitizing other Springfield documents?
A. Yes! Some of the older City Directories were digitized several years ago, and we hope to do more after the yearbook project. But yearbooks are by far the most popular item people would like to see online.