The Lamar State College-Orange Ron E. Lewis Library was awarded a $20,000 TexTreasures Grant to complete the digitization of the Orange Leader newspaper. The goal is to digitize and publish close to a century’s worth of valuable historical newspapers, from 1886 to 1984. LSC-O, with cooperation from the Orange Leader and The Orange Public Library, will digitize old microfilm of the Orange Leader.

The Ron E. Lewis Library has partnered with the Portal to Texas History at the University of North Texas for this project. The UNT Libraries was selected as the lead institution in Texas for the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP), Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. The NDNP is a joint project by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress to develop an Internet-based, searchable database of U.S. newspapers from 1690 to the present.

The Portal to Texas History will digitize and host the electronic access of the Orange Leader Archives Online. Access is free and available to the public at

“The Orange Leader Archives Online has been heavily used, even though there are only 1,845 issues currently online,” said Mary McCoy, director of the Ron E. Lewis Library. “Local financial support of the project by the Service League of Orange and the heavy usage helped us garner the grant from the Texas State Library and Archives Commission.”

The TexTreasures Program increases accessibility to library treasures with grants from TexShare. TexTreasures is an annual competitive grant program designed to help member libraries make their special collections more accessible to researchers across Texas and beyond. Projects may include such activities as cataloging, indexing, and digitizing materials.

The Texas Collections working group is the peer review panel for the grant. Funding is available for projects that involve cataloging, indexing, and digitizing local materials with statewide significance. The TexTreasures grant program helps Texas public and academic libraries provide access to their special or unique local collection holding by making information about these holdings available to library users across the state.

“It is hoped the project will be completed by the end of 2013,” said McCoy. “The Orange Leader Archives Online is a gift to our community from Lamar State College-Orange.”