In an effort to preserve the memories stored in school yearbooks before they are lost to the sands of time, the North Judson-Wayne Township Public Library is looking to digitize school yearbooks from North Judson-San Pierre High School, but according to Library Director Jane Ellen Felchuk, their collection is not complete. For that reason, the library is now asking for help from the public in order to compose a complete digital collection of the school’s yearbook history.
Felchuck said the digitization process will allow the yearbooks to become timeless, preventing them from being lost to damage or misuse.
“This is, for us, a better form of preservation than the actual physical copy. The newest ones are in good shape, but some of our older ones are quite fragile, and we’ve had incidents – particularly in the ’60s – of people walking in and cutting out pictures or vandalizing the yearbooks, so this would keep them better preserved,” she said.
Felchuck said the digital yearbooks will be available for purchase, giving everyone in the community a second chance to purchase yearbooks that were either passed over and never purchased, or were lost or destroyed.
“They’re very fragile, physically, and this would make them more available to the public and to the people that want them. We are also working with the company, Oklahoma Institutional Correctionals Services, and they are going to be putting these on discs and I do believe we’ll be able to sell specific digital copies of these yearbooks for somebody who didn’t get one or theirs was destroyed or they wanted them for whatever reason,” she said.
Felchuck said the response has been wonderful, but they still need yearbooks from every year in the 1930s besides 1939, as well as ’44, ’45, ’46, ’47. In addition, any yearbook from before 1922 or after 1923 in the ’20s are being sought as well. Anyone who donates a yearbook to the cause need not worry, as the digitizing process does not damage the books and they are returned swiftly to their owner.
“The process does not damage the yearbooks,” Felchuck said. “We just borrow them, have them digitized, and we give them back. We also have a source of almost a complete collection of the San Pierre High School yearbooks and we are going to digitize those also.”
If you have a yearbook that you think the library might be in need of, call (574) 896-2841.