Coming Full Circle: Building Scrapbooks for a Dedicated Library Trustee using Georgia Historic Newspapers

Photograph of Frank B. Turner Sr. looking at a scrapbook laid out on a table for him to browse through.

Not too long ago, the staff of Newton County Library System (NCLS) were faced with an interesting conundrum: how do you recognize a wonderful library trustee who has served on your library’s board for over 53 years?

The library staff and members of the library board were looking for a very special way to show their appreciation to Mr. Frank B. Turner, Sr. for his dedication to the library community of Covington, Georgia.

Newspaper clipping of a Rockdale Citizen article covering the naming ceremony of the Covington, Georgia branch library to the Frank B. Turner, Sr. Library
Newspaper clipping of an April 2023 Rockdale Newton Citizen article covering the naming ceremony of the Covington, Georgia branch library to the Frank B. Turner, Sr. Library






















A native of Covington who served as the city manager of Covington from 1970-2006, Frank was appointed to the NCLS library board in 1970, to represent the city of Covington. The board voted to dedicate and rename the Covington branch of the Newton County Library System the Frank B. Turner, Sr. Library in honor of Mr. Turner. A library dedication ceremony was held in April 2023 to rename but there was still something missing…

We were all familiar with Mr. Turner’s deep knowledge of Newton County’s local history and his lifelong love for the library. Mr. Turner has ties to existing DLG projects: notably the Turner Scrapbook Collection, available in the DLG, comprised of historic photographs of Newton County taken by his father, Nathaniel S. Turner, Jr.

The NCLS professional staff ultimately realized the Digital Library of Georgia (DLG) could provide the perfect answer to our question, and decided to use DLG resources to create a “History of Newton County Library” scrapbook for Frank Turner’s personal collection.

We began by searching  for ALL the available Newton County digital newspapers on the Georgia Historic Newspapers site for any and all references to the word “library” from 1835-1942.

What started out as simple project quickly became a fun and interesting journey of discovery for the library staff. We uncovered not just local library history, but also a glimpse into the cultural, political and social aspects of the various decades, and how library service evolved throughout those times.

NCLS staff were able to find documentation that revealed our original library started in 1898, rather than 1910 as initially believed. There were also fascinating history tidbits, beginning with finding a “library home” and continuing to follow the library’s history with building renovations, popular books of the times, meeting local library leaders, and very creative fundraising events for the library. We assembled hundreds of articles in chronological order, organized them by decades, then added them to the scrapbook along with a surprise find: the “birth announcement” of our very special Board member, Frank B. Turner, Sr.

Screen capture of an online search using the Georgia Historic Newspapers portal.
An example of the Georgia Historic Newspapers search conducted by Newton County Library System staff to locate content to create a scrapbook for library trustee Frank B. Turner, Sr.


Mr. Turner was so delighted with his library history scrapbook, that he successfully advocated for additional funding to continue working with the Digital Library of Georgia to continue digitizing Newton County newspapers from 1942 to 1969.

So, as the last page of scrapbook says: “To Be Continued.”

–Lace Keaton,
Director, Newton County Library System

Image credits: 

Featured image (at top of blog post): Frank B. Turner, Sr. looking through the scrapbook created for him by Newton County Library System staff (courtesy of the Newton County Library System).

Article image (inside blog post): Newspaper clipping of an April 2023 Rockdale Newton Citizen article (by Alice Queen) covering the naming ceremony of the Frank B. Turner, Sr. Library.


Georgia antebellum newspapers now freely available online

As part of a $14,495 grant from the R. J. Taylor, Jr. Foundation, the Digital Library of Georgia has digitized approximately 53,930 pages of Georgia newspaper titles published prior to 1861 from microfilm held by the Georgia Newspaper Project ( The project creates full-text searchable versions of the newspapers and presents them online for free in its Georgia Historic Newspapers database at in accordance with technical guidelines developed by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress for the National Digital Newspaper Program (see . The Georgia Historic Newspapers database will utilize the Library of Congress’ open source tool, Chronicling America, for the online delivery of the full-text newspapers.Users will be able to search the database for geographic, corporate, family, and personal names.

138 pre-Civil War titles have been digitized from the following Georgia cities: Albany, Americus, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Auraria, Calhoun, Carrollton, Cartersville, Cassville, Clarkesville, Columbus, Covington, Cuthbert, Darien, Forsyth, Ft. Hawkins, Greensboro, Griffin, Hamilton, Louisville, Lumpkin, Macon, Madison, Mount Zion, Newnan, Oglethorpe, Penfield, Petersburg, Rome, Savannah, Sparta, Thomaston, Thomasville, Warrenton, and Washington.

Vivian Price Saffold, chairman of the R. J. Taylor, Jr. Advisory Committee, states: “Since 1971 genealogy researchers have depended on publications funded by grants from the R. J. Taylor, Jr. Foundation. The Foundation has funded the printing of thousands of books in traditional format. More recently the addition of digital projects, such as the Digital Library of Georgia’s newspaper project, have made possible free online access to tens of thousands of Georgia newspaper pages that previously were difficult to research. The DLG project is a great example of the kind of grant request the Foundation is proud to fund. Georgia newspapers are a valuable resource. On the technical side, the online newspaper images are sharp and clear, and the functionality of the indexing is excellent.”

About the R. J. Taylor, Jr. Foundation

The purpose of the R. J. Taylor, Jr. Foundation Trust is to promote genealogical research and study in Georgia in conjunction with the Georgia Genealogical Society and the Georgia Archives. Grants are made to individuals and organizations to defray the expense of publishing (print or digital) records of a genealogical nature from public and private sources. The primary emphasis is on preserving and making available to the public genealogical data concerning citizens of Georgia who were residents prior to 1851. Visit the R. J. Taylor, Jr. Foundation at

About the Digital Library of Georgia

Based at the University of Georgia Libraries, the Digital Library of Georgia is a GALILEO initiative that collaborates with Georgia’s libraries, archives, museums and other institutions of education and culture to provide access to key information resources on Georgia history, culture and life. This primary mission is accomplished through the ongoing development, maintenance and preservation of digital collections and online digital library resources. DLG also serves as Georgia’s service hub for the Digital Public Library of America and as the home of the Georgia Newspaper Project, the state’s historic newspaper microfilming project.