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BACKGROUND

The NEWSPLAN Programme

NEWSPLAN is a co-operative programme covering all the regions of the United Kingdom and Ireland to preserve local newspapers by microfilming them to international archival standards.

newspaper volumesFirst established in the South West region of England in 1985, NEWSPLAN has expanded over the past ten years to cover all the regions of the United Kingdom and Ireland.

Representatives of the regions, the British Library, and other interested bodies meet together as the NEWSPLAN Panel. The Panel agrees policy and considers issues and opportunities at the national level.

More information about the NEWSPLAN Programme from the British Library website.

Application to Heritage Lottery Fund

In 1998, the LINC NEWSPLAN Panel, working with the British Library, identified over 3,500 unique and individual newspaper titles that were under threat.

A successful application was made to the Heritage Lottery Fund by the LINC NEWSPLAN Panel in April 1998 for funds to support a UK-wide programme to microfilm local newspaper files at risk to archival standards, and to provide microfilm readers to allow access to the text of the newspapers.

The NEWSPLAN 2000 Project was formed to run the microfilming programme, aiming to preserve 1,500 of these titles as a first step toward an eventual complete preservation of all 3,500 titles. The first stage of this programme runs from 2001 to 2004.

The NEWSPLAN Project has had support from many sources, including the UK newspaper industry and at government ministersial level. In March 2001, Alan Howarth MP (then Minister for the Arts), visited the British Library Newspaper Library at Colindale, and was updated on progress on the Project. Read more about that visit here.

In September 2001, following a successful Foundation Year, the NEWSPLAN Project was formally approved by the HLF. Read the Press Release here.

How the NEWSPLAN 2000 Project Works

newspaper volumesNEWSPLAN works on a devolved structure, with seven regional groups in England and single groups in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Within each area, a committee of librarians, archivists, newspaper publishers and users meet regularly to advance the study and preservation of newspaper collections. The chairmen of the groups meet twice a year on a national basis.

The NEWSPLAN 2000 Project reflects this modern approach to dealing with complex issues by working with all the regional groups within a national framework. Each NEWSPLAN committee has established a list of the most fragile titles in its area for preservation and has allocated microfilm readers and reader-printers to libraries. The regional committees will also decide where microfilm is placed within their own area if there is no obvious location for it.

In this way, the NEWSPLAN 2000 Project is based on a devolved structure working from a central office, under the overall direction agreed by a Board of Trustees. By this means, it enables local influences and pressures to be recognised and dealt with by local, accountable groups

Aims of the NEWSPLAN 2000 Project

The main aims of the NEWSPLAN 2000 Project are to:

> Preserve over 1,700 local newspaper titles on archival microfilm.
> Present the microfilm it produces, through a network of regional groups, free of charge to local libraries in the areas served by each newspaper.
> Supply libraries with microfilm readers and reader-printers at no cost.
> Store the microfilm in secure, archival condition.
> Catalogue every title and make records available over the internet

The NEWSPLAN 2000 Project, British Library Newspaper Library, Colindale Avenue, LONDON, NW9 5HE | Tel: 020 7412 7371