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News Maryland Howard County Laurel

Laurel Leader archives find a new home at Laurel Museum

As the closing date of the current Laurel Library building approaches, library officials have been busy figuring out where all the building's resources will go. Some will make the move to the new library building. Others are being sold to raise money for the Friends of the Laurel Library.

On Saturday, one of the library's biggest and heaviest resources found a new home.

A dozen volunteers from the Laurel Historical Society helped move the library's bound archive of Laurel Leader back issues, dating from April 1946 to January 1981, to a new permanent home at the Laurel Museum on Main Street.

Volunteers carted 58 volumes of the newspaper in a process that was much quicker than anyone expected.

"It astounded me," Laurel Historical Society Collections Chairwoman Marlene Frazier said. "[The move] only took us about an hour. We had it all planned out — how to do it — so we could keep the books in order."

Frazier said the society had been preparing for the arrival of the Leader archives for a while.

"We knew this was going to happen, so we had the last month or so to rearrange things [at the museum] and get new shelves that were good and sturdy."

Sturdy shelves are a necessity: The collection is heavy.

Blane Halliday, branch manager for the North Area Prince George's County Public Libraries, which includes Laurel, Bowie, Beltsville and Greenbelt, said each bound tome was the size of an unfolded newspaper.

"They're huge and heavy," he said. "They do take up a lot of space, and we're glad that they found a home."

Halliday said plans to donate the Laurel Leader archive to a community organization had been in the works since before he arrived in April.

The Laurel Historical Society will also adopt the library's collection of Laurel Leaders on microfilm as well as one of the library's microfilm readers.

Thanks to a grant from the Prince George's County Council, facilitated by District 1 County Council member Mary Lehman, the organization was able to scan editions on microfilm from 1897 until 1985.

Frazier said the Laurel Leader archives are a great resource to the community.

"People do use them," she said.

The archives are now available to the public, Frazier said. Those interested in taking a look should call the Laurel Historical Society at 301-725-7975 to arrange an appointment.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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