Caribou (Maine) Library Has Archives Dating Back to the Late 19th Century

An article by Christopher Bouchard in TheCounty web site caught my eye. He describes the services of the library and focuses on the ongoing digitization effort of old newspapers being conducted by the library staff. The article caught my eye because it (1.) described a valuable archive, (2.) described the digitization of old newspapers and documents, (3.) describes the library’s project to use imaging software to record digital images of physical items from the past, and (4.) because I used to live in Caribou a long time ago.

NOTE: When I lived there, I thought Caribou, Maine was the coldest place on earth. About a year later, the U.S. military sent me to a 15-month assignment in Goose Bay, Labrador, Canada. I changed my mind about which location had the claim to being the coldest.

There are well over a thousand newspapers stored in the building, and Caribou Public Library Director Anastasia Weigle said one of her main objectives as an archivist is to keep the content of those papers alive via digitizing. About 2,776 pages of the Aroostook Republican from 1880 to 1899 are currently available in digital format at and can be browsed by date of publication or via keyword search.

Meanwhile, several issues of the paper have been archived in both microfilm and CD format, which is superior to the physical copies in terms of longevity, but inferior to the digital archive as they are not indexed and searchable. Digitizing these papers is essential, as the acidic nature of newspapers makes them susceptible to degradation over time.

“Archivists know it’s not the newspaper that’s valuable,” said Weigle, “but the content in that paper. We have a number of publications we can’t even bring out of the box because they’re just falling apart.

The library is still seeking funds to do more of the digitizing.

I will suggest this story shows how local libraries can digitize and preserve the history and even physical artifacts of their local communities. You can read a lot more at:


I was stationed at Limestone AFB transferred from Roswell NM between Christmas and New Years 1952 until August 1954, That was a double shock – raised in Louisiana,
When were you at Limestone later Loring AFB?


    —> When were you at Limestone later Loring AFB?

    It wasn’t quite that simple. I was living as a civilian in Caribou. I grew up in central Maine and later got a job further north in Presque Isle and rented a house in nearby Caribou. However, that was during the early years of the Viet Nam war. The draft board was breathing down my neck and it was obvious I was within a few weeks of being drafted as the local draft board was all out of qualified candidates and were canceling previously-issued deferments as fast as they could. I had a deferment but knew I was going to lose it any day. So I ran out and enlisted because I could get a better deal that way.

    After a few weeks in basic training followed by a year in tech school, I got my first permanent assignment: Goose Bay, Labrador, Canada.

    That was the closest to home I ever got assigned. After Goose Bay, I got assigned to a place I bet you know: Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana. It was warmer there.


We were in different wars but I have never regretted enlisting in the Air Force, graduated from LSU in Industrial Chemistry,first as a chemist for Amoco R&D and later selling high tech instruments to chemist. I now retired in Southern California and have attended many Jamborees.


Maine has an incredible number of treasures in small libraries and museums across the state. Definitely a place to go local in research.


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