"Loss of bound files at News-Leader emphasizes need of greater caution.
"Responsibility for preserving the only consecutive files of Springfield newspapers in existence is being taken seriously by officials of the Springfield Public Library. It has led them to announce strict rules for use of these files.
"At present the old newspapers will not be opened for patrons of the library, except when satisfactory reason is given. 'We shall try to cooperate with anyone who has real need to use the files,' said Miss Harriet Horine, librarian, 'but we must protect this irreplaceable material. I regret deeply that we must make such strict rules.'
"The board of the library at its meeting last week spent considerable time discussing ways of protecting the newspaper files and at the same time making them available to those who need them. Miss Horine was instructed to put into effect any rules needed to preserve the newspapers.
"The problem is enlarged by the fact that the very old files are brittle with age and easily crumble, even with careful handling. The files of more recent years are unbound, wrapped in bundles and inconvenient to use. These unbound files of about the last 35 years are duplicates of the bound files lost in the fire of the Springfield Newspapers, Inc. They are now irreplaceable.
"All these are stored in basement rooms of the library and there are not sufficient librarians on the staff to furnish a special attendant for this newspaper reference department. A no smoking rule is in effect throughout the library, but it is many times more important that it be rigidly enforced in the newspaper reference room to prevent fire hazard.
"The library has some files of the Advertiser published in the '40's [1840's] and has files of a variety of newspapers published here from 1867. Most of the bound files were given to the library by Edson K. Bixby, late editor of the Springfield Newspapers, Inc., about 16 years ago.
"Miss Horine hopes that in the future money will be available for microfilming the newspaper files. That would make possible general use of them by the public. Until that time comes, however, she and the library board believe they have a public duty to protect the valuable record of Springfield's history, which would be lost with destruction of these newspapers."
Note: The newspaper office burned in March of 1947. The above photograph is from the Library Center archives and shows Harriet Horine checking books. The photo is dated 1916 and shows the interior of the building we now call the Midtown Carnegie Branch Library. Click on the picture to enlarge it. Read an interview with Virginia Gleason, who gives her recollections of working at the library.
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