Lorain County Memory

Released On: 10/12/2019

History is being made at the Lorain Public Library System as “Lorain County Memory,” a new site, prepares to launch a digitized archive of the area.

Columbia Branch Manager John Guscott said this is an initiative that began about a year ago and is meant to showcase the items that have been preserved in the Main Library and the branches, in terms of newspapers, yearbooks and old photos, and bring them online in a digitization project for all to enjoy.

“Our director, Anastasia Diamond-Ortiz, had conversations with local historical societies about ways to try to bring all of these things the library has online,” he said. “For example, we house the archive for the International Festival in Lorain and we’d love to share that along with things from other branches, like old newspapers.”

Guscott’s branch houses a record of the Rural-Urban newspaper dating back to the 1960s and is right next door to the Columbia Historical Society.

“The goal is to reach out to all the other libraries not in our system to eventually have one cohesive project in the county even if it’s just links to other similar projects that they’ve done,” he said.

Avon Branch Manager Donna Kelly said her branch’s major contribution to the site will be the result of the ongoing Avon Oral Histories.

“It’s something we’re still doing and scheduling and will continue to do because Avon history is happening now,” she said. “Avon’s changed so much in the last 30 years, so we want to preserve all of that history and time. There’s not an age limit. We want to hear from people in their 50s as much as people in their 90s.”

Kelly said if anyone would like to give an oral history, they should simply call the branch to schedule and fill out a short questionnaire, before receiving a list of questions to expect. In total, the entire experience takes about an hour.

“We want people to bring in items we can scan such as documents, photographs and artifacts to go along with their audio,” she said. “But if people would rather only bring in documents and things like that, we would welcome it. You don’t necessarily have to give us audio.”

A key item that has been scanned into the Lorain County Memory site will continue to be yearbooks, because “people want to see their parents or their grandparents and just get a glimpse of how things were,” Guscott said.

Lorain County Memory is expected to be available by the end of 2019.

If you have any documents, photos, yearbooks or other items you would like to contribute, please feel free to call your local LPLS branch to get started.