A Steering Committee was convened to develop a newspaper cataloging plan for Pennsylvania.
NEH awarded $10,000 to the State Library of Pennsylvania. This grant funding supported the development of a plan to identify, catalog and enter holdings into the OCLC database of newspapers published in Pennsylvania, and other U.S. newspapers held by Pennsylvania libraries, historical societies, and other agencies. The grant was to also support the development of a plan to microfilm Pennsylvania newspapers.
State Library sent a brief questionnaire to all Pennsylvania libraries, historical societies, publishers, and others to determine the number of titles held in an institution. This data was needed to apply for a subsequent NEH grant to complete an inventory of the newspapers published in Pennsylvania.
Results of the questionnaire showed that newspaper collections were “maintained” in about 1,400 locations throughout the State. The two largest newspaper collections were held at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania with 1,614 titles and the State Library with 1,560 titles (bound in 3,600 volumes and 63,000 reels of microfilm). Other large collections were at the University of Pittsburgh, the Western Pennsylvania Historical Society and the Carnegie Library; at the Penn State University; and other Philadelphia collections and communities throughout the State.
The one-day Newspaper Conference was held at the William Penn Memorial Museum, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Roughly 100 people representing a broad spectrum of potential users and those interested in newspapers attended. The intent of the conference was to gauge the interest and support of the library and historical communities in the Commonwealth’s participation in the United States Newspaper Program.
David Hoffman, State Library noted in his 1986 article in Serials Librarian that “in December 1983 … we can count as the beginning of the Pennsylvania Newspaper Project.”
Penn State University Libraries was approached by David Hoffman from the State Library to discuss the newspaper program and determine how interested the University Libraries was in serving as a cataloging site for the Pennsylvania Newspaper Project. David Hoffman proposed to Stuart Forth, Dean of the University Libraries that Penn State would be the work site for cataloging Pennsylvania titles published in, and recording holdings data of newspapers held in the following 15 counties: Bradford, Centre, Clinton, Clearfield, Columbia, Juniata, Lycoming, Mifflin, Montour, Northumberland, Potter, Snyder, Sullivan, Tioga, Union