Waupun Public Library’s collection of historical Waupun newspapers digitized

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WAUPUN — All issues of Waupun’s historical newspapers are now digitized and available for public viewing at the Waupun Public Library through

The digitized collection includes the Waupun Leader, Waupun Times, Waupun Neighbor, and some short-lived papers including Prison Press, The Waupunite, and more. 

“A researchers or reminiscers dream come true,” according to the Waupun Historical Society, who announced the completion of the project Monday.

Digitization of the newspaper collection has been a desire of the Waupun Public Library for many years. They had been previously working with the Wisconsin Newspaper Association on digitizing, but their search systems were considered clunky and hard to use, so the Library discontinued the project.

The Waupun Public Library had reached out to the about their collection. offered to digitize everything for free. The current digitization process began about 10 weeks ago after they shipped their collection of reels.

“When we were setting things up, they said that they said it was going to take longer than normal,” said Pam Garcia, who works as assistant library director at the Waupun Public Library. “So usually it was six weeks and they said it was going to take about 10 weeks, which they’re right on with that because it was mid-May that they were done.”

The total cost for the project: $400—just for shipping.

“If we would have had to pay for everything—which we thought we had to do—it would have been tens of thousands of dollars, probably. And that’s the best. Initially that’s the way we thought we had to do it, but you can’t beat this and we decided to send it all in.”

The Waupun microfilm collection that was sent in had approximately 180 reels of over 100,000 total newspaper issues. Each box was packed full of reels, and insurance was required to mail them as each reel would have cost $80 to replace if damaged.

But now, the entire collection can be found online—which can be searched much more efficiently and even allows users to search specific names, words, or phrases to narrow down search results from all issues.

“It will be so much faster,” Garcia said. “If I had to send something to somebody, I had to print it, scan it and then email it. And now I can just download the image and email it to them.”

The Waupun Public Library intends to keep the microfilm machine available for use until it breaks, so once the Library has received their microfilm collection back from patrons can still search the old fashioned way.

The current machine, a Minolta RP605z microfiche reader, was first produced in 1989. It outlasted at least one other microfilm reader, which was a digital system made compatible for early Windows computers.

The oldest issues included in the microfilm collection are the Waupun Times, which began in 1857, and the Waupun Leader, which began in 1866.

All issues can be accessed for free at the Waupun Public Library, both on the public computers and through WiFi. The Waupun Historical Society plans on purchasing a subscription for use at the Heritage Museum as well.

Issues dated 1928 and before can also be accessed for free from anywhere through Badgerlink. Badgerlink—a publicly funded Wisconsin state program for library and research materials—has a state-wide subscription to the Library Edition World Collection. The Library Edition has free access to all newspapers nationwide and globally, and Waupun papers can be found by selecting Waupun as the location.

But remember that there are two Waupuns listed for location, one for Dodge County and one for Fond du Lac County. Different papers are listed under each, with the Leader and the Times under Dodge.

Users may be prompted to input their library card for Badgerlink access.

Links to both the Library’s local access and Badgerlink can be found on the Library’s page on the City website, here: 

The Fox Lake Public Library had their collection of the Fox Lake Representative digitized to in 2018. The Beaver Dam Public Library also digitized their historical collection of the Dodge County Citizen and Beaver Dam Argus. All three are available at their respective libraries.

Last December, the Waupun Historical Society reopened their online archive to the archival collections website CatalogIt.