Iowa Newspapers Piling Up At Historical Archive After State Budget Cuts

The State of Iowa Historical Building just down the road from the State Capitol Building in Des Moines on Wednesday, January 15, 2014. (Stephen Mally/KCRG-TV9)

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By Richard Pratt

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — More than 75,000 Iowa newspapers have piled up in state archives as officials decide whether to resume the practice of microfilming the publications after budget cuts prompted an end to microfilming about five years ago.

Nearly 300 weekly newspapers arrive every week at the Iowa historical building in Des Moines, but since 2009 workers have been setting them aside. The state Department of Cultural Affairs stopped converting the newspapers to microfilm that year in a money-saving move amid a giant drop in state revenue, and since then there has been no movement within the department to reinstate the process.

State finances have improved, but officials say they don't want to resume microfilming the papers until they hammer out a larger plan for the historical society's collection.

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