OK, I know what you’re thinking…that nobody uses it any more, that it’s inferior, outdated technology, etc etc.  While I will admit there is a little bit of truth buried somewhere in those sentiments, the fact is that microfilm is actually quite a viable storage medium.  It takes up a small amount of space, does not have very stringent storage requirements, and lasts a long time – up to 500 years, if stored properly.  Furthermore, it is easy to digitize should a user wish to do that.  So microfilm actually has a lot going for it.

Here at the SMCM Library we have a robust microfilm collection, if I do say so myself – the newspaper collection on the first floor includes long runs of The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The New Yorker as well as local resources such as Enterprise and St. Mary’s Beacon.  In addition, we also have significant holdings of many journals – these are kept in the periodicals section on the 2nd floor.  All in all we have over 18,000 rolls of microfilm!  Not to mention that microfilm printing has always been free at the SMCM Library…just saying 😀

If you’ve used our microfilm before, then you know we have two microfilm readers on the first floor.  Those two units are quite old, and while they’re a little bit finicky, they largely have served us well for many years.  But we’re always looking to improve the user experience here at the SMCM Library, and starting on Thursday, March 28 we’re going to be having a one week trial of a brand-new, state-of-the-art microfilm reader.  The ScanPro 2000 can scan microfilm into many different file formats – including searchable PDF – and has other features such as allowing users to zoom in and clip specific sections of microfilm, adjust the color/contrast of the image, and more.  Users will be able to print, email, or save the images instantly, at a resolution/quality of their choice.

We’ll be testing the new unit with the idea that it would replace the two units that we have now – we just don’t have the luxury of being able to keep them both.  So if you’re a microfilm user, stop by the library between Thursday, March 28 – Wednesday, April 3 and take the ScanPro 2000 for a spin.  Conrad from the front desk will be glad to show you around the machine if you like.  Then, let us know whether you think it would be a good investment for us.

If you’re not interested in microfilm, then come by to borrow a Kindle (preloaded with over two dozen contemporary hits), a laptop (for three hours or two weeks), one of our almost 3,000 DVD’s, get help with your research from one of the Reference & Instruction Librarians, or study in the beanbag lounge.  We hope to see you soon!  Thanks, and happy librarying.


One thought on “Microfilm!

  1. Glad to see the microfilm still being cared for! I loved going through the St. Mary’s Beacon, and even the NYT and others that were already available digitally. It is definitely a great medium with some staying power. I’m in a digital history course right as a grad student and we’ve been having some really interesting discussions one digitized (and born-digital) sources as well as their analog counterparts.

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