Historic Staunton yearbooks now online

staunton public libraryIf you enjoy flipping through old yearbooks to take a walk down memory lane, you can now reminisce online, too. The Staunton Public Library has added 46 digitized local yearbooks to its collection, now available online free of charge. The collection comprises yearbooks from 1977 and before. Yearbooks for more recent years are not available online due to copyright restrictions.

Staunton’s library is participating in a statewide initiative with the Library of Virginia to help preserve the yearbooks, which are considered rare and fragile historical resources. The project is made possible by federal grant funding provided through the Library Services and Technology Act. The Institute of Museum and Library Services receives and dispenses the funds.

“Yearbooks hold all sorts of fascinating information on everything from genealogy to segregation; educational trends to fashion history,” said Melissa Davidson, Staunton’s public services librarian. “Most of Staunton’s online collection comes from our physical holdings, but some were loaned by community members.”

Rose Schooff, technology consultant for the Library of Virginia and the project manager for yearbook digitization, said they first focused on preserving yearbooks from old African-American schools.

“They’re not as easy to find as those from existing and more recent schools,” Schooff said.

Davidson said that the Staunton Public Library would continue to add local yearbooks to its collection as they become available and as long as grant funds for the project last.

“I would love to be able to send some more out for digitization,” Davidson said. “If you have yearbook or annuals from any Staunton school and are willing to loan them, please contact the Staunton Public Library.”

The public can access Staunton’s online yearbook collection at archive.org/details/stauntonpubliclibrary.

About the Project

The idea for a statewide project to digitize community yearbooks began in 2012 after scanners and other equipment were loaned to public libraries for the purpose of digitizing local history collections. Since then, the Library of Virginia has coordinated the scanning of yearbooks from many public libraries and its own collections.

The yearbooks are accessible through the Internet Archive and the Lyrasis digitization collaborative, thanks to funds from the Institute for Museum and Library Services.

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