Bloomsburg University

Cataloging a Major University ‘In the Field’

Viewing “Fruits of Our Efforts

Bloomsburg University was the first “large” University whose holdings we cataloged ‘in the field’. For the Penn State Team, working in predominantly small rural communities, an institution with over 300 titles was considered significant. Without the incredible cooperation and assistance of the Bloom University Library staff, the task would have been more difficult and taken a lot longer to complete. East Stroudsburg University, with 765 titles, required an Extended-Stay in order to complete the work. See also EAST STROUDSBURG UNIVERSITY vignette.

This story is written backwards and begins with our second, very satisfying visit – as we watched the staff view the results of the Project’s work on the OCLC database. Some of the challenges we faced during our earlier visit are presented below.

From the April 1986 Monthly Report

A final trip to Bloomsburg University, scheduled for April 30 – May 2, will signify the last of the site visits needed for Northcentral Pennsylvania. Bloomsburg University had well over 300 newspaper titles, all on microfilm, which required extensive time on-site. While 40-45 paper titles can be cataloged and LDRed in one day by one person, only 15-20 titles can be done on microfilm in one day.

(Well, we can scratch that. On April 30, at Bloomsburg U., Sue broke all her cataloging records and in a marathon session lasting until 8:15 p.m. she completed 40 workforms, cataloging from microfilm! I was impressed!)

While there we met with Peggy Kelly, Serials Librarian. Peggy wanted to know when their holdings would be on OCLC (Online Computer Library Center). We explained to her that we were still working on recording her holdings except for her Columbia County titles which had already been input in August 1985.

Well, Peggy wanted to see for herself. She went back to the OCLC terminal and to her delight found Bloomsburg’s holding for the Press-Enterprise.

She looked at the now-updated bibliographic record they had originally input and the holdings record.

She and the cataloger sitting nearby then pulled up several other titles, and they couldn’t believe all the work we were doing for them. They thought it was great!

I think this was the first time someone outside the newspaper project recognized and appreciated the amount of work the Newspaper Project Staff was doing.

It was gratifying to be a witness to their excitement and delight.


From the June 1985 Monthly Report

Cataloging and Related Tasks

– Cataloging and LDRs for Union County completed.

– Initial cataloging begun on Columbia County.

– Faye Leibowitz and Sue discussed and agreed upon the need for more flexibility in linking titles.

– Ruth Carter, David Hoffman and Rian Irvine-Miller met and made decisions on how to handle small repositories. This is especially applicable to our situation.

– Work continues on the 271 titles examined at Bloomsburg University. Many of these titles were cataloged, but a return trip will be necessary to catalog papers [found at Bloom but] published in Easton, Hazleton, Scranton, Wilkes-Barre and other places not yet assigned to the project. Papers published in major cities (Philadelphia, Pittsburg, Harrisburg) were given LDRs but not cataloged. All Columbia County titles, our 15-county area titles and other small-community titles were cataloged.

– Cataloged Penn State’s Pattee Library holdings for Columbia County.

– Prepared county title list of Columbia County titles based on Rossell and other published histories.

– Contacted several people, including Todd Butler, for information on filling out LDRs for microfilm.


– Columbia County was marvelous to work through. Over 23 individuals and institutions were contacted and their cooperation and good will completely won us over.

– Ran into the usual problem of working with microfilm at Bloomsburg University (tedious; unusual filing system; titles filed under latest entry; papers filmed backwards, etc.) but the staff could not have been more helpful.

Conflicting history notes and sources pose problems in establishing accurate title histories.

Bloomburg A
Sue in the microfilm cabinets at Bloomsburg University; we found more than 300 titles on microfilm, June 12, 1985.


Wednesday, June 12, 1985

Left for Bloomsburg University from Boalsburg at 7:30 am – forgot briefcase, turned around and back to Boalsburg – finally on our way again at 8:00 am.

Arrived at Bloomsburg University 10:00 am… Met with Peggy Kelly who introduced us to Jo Crosby who helped her prepare sheets for us… also met others on staff… Becky took care of getting release signed and NAD record updated.

Began working on microfilm around 11:00 am…. went to lunch… back to Bloomsburg University at 2:00; worked until 7:00 pm.

Took Becky and I awhile to acquaint ourselves with their filing system.

After one day – CATALOGED 22 Columbia Co. titles (Becky helped too – cataloging).

Becky verified holdings and recorded film type for 162 title sheets returned to us by Peggy and Jo.


  • eye strain from viewing microfiche
  • film backwards on reel
  • many time periods on one reel (see sample label – Xeroxed)
  • separate sections of microfilm

1. “Various Newspapers” filed under “V”

2. “Harrisburg Newspapers” filed under “H”

3. “Easton Newspapers” filed under “E”

Also, they filed newspaper titles under latest entry. Example:

Under Enquirer (Berwick) were reels of film Berwick Gazette which was a predecessor to the Enquirer – Bloomsburg University didn’t hold any Enquirer at all.

Bloomburg B

Bloomsburg University’s staff helped inventory the microfilm; student worker (Rose), and clerical staff (Monica) lend a hand, June 12, 1985.

Thursday, June 13, 1985

Up by 7:30 am – to breakfast – first visited the Press-Enterprise


Press-Enterprise Office, Bloomsburg, Pa., June 13, 1985.

…At 12:15 pm arrived at Bloomsburg University. Cataloged Student Newspaper OR [paper] holdings and began cataloging the titles still needed to be done from yesterday.

Becky and I had decided last night to prioritize the things that really needed to be done and concentrate on these – all our 15-county-area titles to be done first and whatever time was left over to catalog additional holdings.

Finished at Bloomsburg University at 5:50 pm…



Bloomsburg University was our largest “site” in Columbia County. Other sites (and 22 Private Citizens) visited included:

  • Columbia County Historical Society – Orangeville
  • Berwick Historical Society – Berwick
  • Bloomsburg Public Library
  • Press-Enterprise – Bloomsburg
  • Berwick Public Library
  • Dean Kriner’s Funeral Home – Bloomsburg


Columbia County Statistics – 75% FOUND!

  • 76 total titles were published in Columbia County based on our research done in county histories and bibliographies published at the time.
  • Of the 76 titles known to exist, 57 titles were found (located and cataloged).
  • Of the 57 titles found, a whopping 46 were NEW titles that were not identified in any known sources.

See the Chronicling America website for:

  • A comprehensive list of Columbia County titles that have been located and recorded as a result of the USNP
  • Select the ‘US Newspaper Directory, 1690 – Present” tab on the right; select Pennsylvania and Columbia County

Letter from Penn State Project Director Dr. Barbara Smith to Mr. William Ryan, Bloomsburg University Library Director, thanking him for the support provided by the Library Staff.

Posted with permission from Dr. Barbara Smith October 26, 2012.

Bloomsburg 7-3-85 letter



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