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Grand Marais Public Library Upgrades Microfilm Reader, Researchers Gain Desirable Features

Nov 28, 2023 08:47AM ● By Content Editor
Photo: Grand Marais Public Library

From the Grand Marais Public Library - November 28, 2023

Historians, genealogists, and researchers have enjoyed using Grand Marais Public Library’s microfilm reader to develop local history publications, verify family history, and more. Some locals have combined the library’s machine and interlibrary loan service to view microfilm from Minnesotan universities or special libraries, while people from outside the state have accessed the collection using the library’s reference service. The library’s microfilm collection features a variety of arts and cultural records. There are Cook County Naturalization Records from 1887 – 1952 and Federal Census data for Cook and other Counties. Newspaper archives include the Cook County Star from 1999 - 2004 and Cook County Herald from 1893 - 1907 and 1915 - 2004. Unfortunately, the library’s old machine used software that manufacturers stopped updating several years ago, which limited how successfully an article could be manipulated and rendered printing impossible.

Library Director Amanda St. John shared, “We encouraged patrons to snap a pic of articles using their smartphones because, frankly, the reproductions were superior to what the software could produce. This month, we upgraded to a ScanPro 3500 that not only solves the printing challenge, but also provides a number of modern features that ensure the print is readable.”

The new ScanPro allows researchers to “cut out” the article of their choice for economical printing. Users can improve the contrast of darkened or bleached areas without impacting the ideal areas. There are features to straighten articles that were preserved askew, and to invert the color scheme when that is necessary.

St. John stated, “We have a bit more work to do to make the machine available to the public. We look forward to giving patrons a tour while showcasing this special collection of 78 reels of locally relevant content.” As for the old machine, it has a second life at the Cook County Historical Society. There, the microfilm reader will continue to be available for public use.


About the library

It is Grand Marais Public Library’s mission to increase knowledge, inspire creativity, remove barriers, and build community across Cook County. The library is now hosting monthly poetry workshop with the next on Wednesday, December 13, from 5:30 – 7:30 PM. Led by Grand Marais librarian Ryan Leng, this workshop will include a presentation on meter and rhyme, in addition to exercises and peer review of attendees’ poems. To get the most out of the workshop, attendees should bring their draft poems to share with the group as well as paper and pen for notes. For more information, call the library at 218-387-1140, or visit online at