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U of L library completes digitization of historic Coaldale and Taber newspapers

Posted on October 31, 2022 by Sunny South News

By Erika Mathieu
Sunny South News

The University of Lethbridge Library has completed digitizing over 4,000 issues from Taber and Coaldale newspapers dating from 1907-1974.

The project digitized 122 Taber Free Press issues from Sept. 1907 to Aug. 1910, and over 3,100 issues of The Taber Times spanning over 60 years, from May 1911 to Nov. 1971. The project also digitized 40 issues of the Coaldale Flyer dated from March 21, 1958-Feb. 3, 1959, and 766 issues of the Sunny South News published between 1959 and 1974.

Group Publisher for Alberta Newspaper Group, Ryan McAdams said, “Through a partnership with the Taber Times and Sunny South News and the University of Lethbridge, they’ve allowed us to provide this to the residents.”

He added the historical back issues from the four Taber and Coaldale-based publications “is a valuable contribution that the newspaper is making to its residents and one that we provide at no charge.”

With permission from the group publisher, the University of Lethbridge Library was able to borrow the microfilm reels from the Legislature Library in Edmonton. Previously, people interested in viewing these historical back issues would be constrained by the single-access point and geographically specific location of the microfilm. Digitization will remove those barriers and allow people free access to the materials.

“It’s one of the benefits of technology. It provides people access to publications that are over a hundred years old from the comfort of their home,” said McAdams.

Rhys Stevens, a librarian at the University of Lethbridge Library, and Jacob Cameron, coordinator for digitization, were equally involved in getting the project online.

“Historical content, particularly newspaper content is one of the types of material that is accessed the most based on our statistics,” said Stevens. He said, previously, local groups interested in reading these issues had to rely on the microfilm to access these materials.

“It’s a lot more convenient and it’s the type of thing that, historians and genealogists and others with an interest, in local history can find all kinds of stuff,” said Stevens.

The University of Lethbridge Library will continue to pursue funding opportunities to digitize more current issues of these newspapers, something McAdams said he would be in favour of in the future.

 The issues are available at no charge from the University of Lethbridge Library’s digital collection at

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