Community Newspapers, Community Memory

How can our community ‘memory’ be preserved (for future generations and today’s researchers)?
Local or community have tremendous local history and community interest;  they’re full of names, local stories and advertisements that provide a unique social history of a town or region.  However many of these community newspapers are in fragile condition so there is a limited timeframe available to preserve these community records before this treasure trove of local memory is lost to us forever.
How can New Zealand Libraries best contribute to an NZNewsPlan – a national newspaper strategy?
The National Library has both a preservation microfilm programme and leverages that for its Collaborative Newspaper Digitisation Programme to supplement its Papers Past initiative and collaborate with you on cost-sharing… and the specifics about the digitisation and preservation microfilm programme are in PDF format here.  Maybe you can collaborate regionally to preserve your content?  NZMS can help and we are keen to have that conversation with you about ensuring the content of your local and regional newspapers is preserved. We think it is so important to ensure the content printed in these fragile and flaky papers survives.  You are welcome to contact NZMS (or phone: 0800 NZMS 1990) to discuss and scope your project.
Some background: The Current NZ News Plan
We are a reasonably lucky country – it is within our power to preserve just about all the newspapers that we have retained to date (yes, we have let too many go through loss or damage) and we are growing Paper’s Past digital versions at about 1% per year.  We include  a graphical representation of the New Zealand Newspaper scene over the past 175 years – since our first paper was published.
With newspapers the digital versions go offline from “Press Display” after ~60 days so the best solution to preserve the integrity of your newspapers (arguably better than keeping the paper itself!) is to produce a microfilm copy under the auspices of the Legal Deposit Act which can be shared on that “low-retrieval” format and used without risk of damage by researchers (copyright rules still apply).
For more recent papers (last decade) you might take a publisher’s digital files and convert them to microfilm.  The two primary reasons for doing this are low-cost backup and copyright/Digital Rights Management where you simply cannot publish certain material on the web.  It’s perfect for lessening our costs on modern newspaper reformatting once we get past the gap between the Press Display limitation and the period until we can get it onto Paper’s Past.
The publishers are not being awkward by the way – it’s quite simply because they have syndicated content as much as a commercial desire to monetise their digital content published today and over the past few decades.