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Local Press: Archives

Question for Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

UIN 80964, tabled on 24 November 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to support communities to access local newspaper archives; and whether funding is available for that.

Answered on

1 December 2021

Local newspapers provide insight on the events, large and small, which shape our communities, and improving and maintaining access to these resources for individuals and communities is vital.

The British Library has a statutory duty to collect physical newspapers and online news sites; it also aims to make newspapers as accessible as possible. This work includes working in partnership with Findmypast to produce the British Newspaper Archive (BNA). The BNA is an online subscription resource enabling online access to historic digitised newspapers. The BNA is free to access in British Library Reading Rooms and a number of local authorities, including Essex County Council, subscribe enabling free access to public library users and through records offices. Many local authority archives and local study services may also retain their own collections of local newspapers.

The British Library has also undertaken local newspaper digitisation projects with public and community libraries on a cost recovery only basis, using the British Library’s skills and expertise to support local libraries.