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.


How the DLG Helps the Georgia Senate Press Office Conduct Its Research

by Andrew Allison

The Georgia Senate Press Office is the official place for the Georgia Senate to deal with the press and the media. It is a non-partisan office and is responsible for writing and sending out press releases, media advisories, columns, and opinion pieces for each of the 56 Senators at their request.

As its director, I’m in charge of our small team, which handles the above-mentioned communication needs and plans communications for the Georgia state Senate as a whole. We also live stream all official Senate meetings and activities on the Senate floor and run all of the Senate’s social media accounts.

Research is a constant part of our job. If a lawmaker wants to file a bill on a particular topic, we often research the issue in general, keep an eye on how the news covers it, and find out what everyone’s positions are before writing a press release, column, etc. Sometimes, these topics are timely, and most research can be done quickly. There are times, however, when we need more in-depth tools to find historical data on specific legislative topics.

I actually first found out about the DLG recently when, earlier this year, we had a slower day at work and several new staff members in our office. I thought it would be a good idea for us all to take the generic tour of the Capitol that the Georgia Capitol Museum provides, just to find out if there was anything we didn’t already know about the place we work.

That tour was eye-opening in several ways, and the tour guide provided a great deal of information that I (even being obsessed with Georgia’s political history and having worked here for over six years) never knew. When we asked where we could find out more, she suggested we take a look at the Digital Library of Georgia. It’s been one of my most frequently visited websites ever since.

Several images we have used in our publications recently that we found inside the DLG include the old state Capitol in Milledgeville and an older image of the current Capitol building.

Title: State Capitol at Milledgeville. From the description: Image of an illustration depicting the old Georgia state capitol in Milledgeville, Georgia, circa 1850.








Title: Georgia State Capitol Building. Courtesy of the Atlanta History Center Kenan Research Center. From the description: View of the Georgia State Capitol Building looking southeast from the Equitable Building at the corner of Pryor Street and Edgewood Avenue in Atlanta, Georgia.










The primary publication the DLG has been essential in making a reality is The Parliamentary Inquirer, which our office started earlier this year. This magazine aims to highlight the work the Georgia General Assembly undertakes outside of the session and share some fun and informative stories about Georgia politics and history. Simply put, we could not produce a magazine of this caliber without the help of the DLG. There is no other place where primary source documents and images are so readily available and searchable. For example, we recently did an article on the history of Georgia’s state capitals.

I was about to find a copy of the Senate Journal from the day the General Assembly formally changed from a temporary meeting space to the building they use today. For additional context, I found newspaper archives (also through DLG) that described a reporter’s perspective of the festivities surrounding the procession from the old Capitol to the new one. Items like this have traditionally been so difficult to come by. Having them so easily accessible has allowed us to add historical context our work would otherwise be lacking.

I am sure there are collections and features we haven’t yet taken full advantage of. However, the resources supplied by the Atlanta History Center are always very insightful and unique. Without the primary source documents and photos available through DLG, the value of publications like The Parliamentary Inquirer would be severely lacking. Having access to these old legislative records, photographs, journals, and newspaper clippings adds so much to our production value and constantly helps us generate new ideas for future articles.

Typically, we work on our magazine articles during downtime during the day, as our primary job responsibilities are to ensure our senators have everything they need. Therefore, being able to search for something online when we have a few spare minutes is far preferable. Simply put, if these materials were not available for free online, it is likely we would not have utilized the DLG due to funding constraints. If the content existed behind a paywall, we would never have been able to access it.

The DLG is an excellent reflection of the demographics of our state. For example, we worked on an article about Georgia’s historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), and, through publications made available through the DLG, we could locate student newspapers and newsletters from several HBCUs dating back to the 19th century. In the past, the struggle has always been to find primary source documents from rural Georgia. While we have yet to run into any specific issues locating any materials, we find that documents from small, rural towns are harder to come by, and appreciate when those are made available.

Readers can follow the Georgia Senate Press Office at the following social media handles:

Twitter: @GASenatePress
Instagram: @gasenatepress