KC Public Library purchases Kansas City Star archives for public use

The Kansas City Public Library has purchased the digitized archives of The Kansas City Star and Kansas City Times from 1880-1990. These archives will complement the existing NewsBank subscription that gives patrons access to The Star from 1991 to today.

Patrons can now simultaneously conduct a keyword search of the entire collection, including classified ads and images. Images are not included with the texts from 1991-2013 but are available on microfilm.

“I’m excited for our patrons,” said Jeremy Drouin, special collections manager, “because this purchase unlocks thousands of articles that would otherwise be difficult to locate without knowing the exact dates of publication.”

Kansas City Star front page from 1948, a mere 74 years ago.

The archive spans from 1880 to today and gives users the ability to search the entirety of The Star’s and The Times archives from any computer. The service includes functions for interacting with materials in the form of cropping, emailing, saving as a PDF or link, printing, and enlarging. 

The database allows patrons and Library staff to research Kansas City’s newspapers of record to within 30 years of the city’s founding in 1853.

The system is especially user friendly for students, educators, and researchers; it automatically generates citations and features quick sharing via Google Classroom or email and can easily save articles to personal folders.

In 2018, The Kansas City Star donated a portion of its records (from 1829-2007) to the Missouri Valley Special Collections. The 86 boxes, four volumes, and three map drawer folders materials document the history of the newspaper and its founding family and are available to researchers who visit the Central Library.

While the acquisition of those records in 2018 deepened the partnership between the city’s library and newspaper of record and the city’s newspaper of record, the purchase of the historical archives broadens it. And Drouin says it is an extension of the Library’s commitment to preserving Kansas City history.

The NewsBank database can be accessed from any computer, as opposed to microfilm and the The Star’s physical records and documents, which are only accessible at the Library.

“This is something we’ve looked at for several years,” says Joel Jones, the Library’s director of library services. “It’s important for the Kansas City Public Library to own these digital archives and provide access to them to our patrons, to residents of Kansas City.”

Click here to access The Kansas City Star historical and current collection now.