Aldergrove – In July 2021 former Aldergrove Star newspaper editor Kurt Langmann donated a set of 29 microfilms to the Alder Grove Heritage Society to augment the donation of physical copies of the 1957-2000 newspaper and photographs by his parents, Mr. & Mrs. Rudi Langmann in 2003.

Kurt Langmann with microfilm
Kurt Langmann making use of the Aldergrove Star microfilm to revisit his first newspaper-published photograph of the Abbotsford Airshow, August 1967

In December 2021, Alder Grove Heritage Society applied for and received financial assistance from the Library British Columbia History Digitization Centre Programme (BCHDP) to have the microfilms digitized by the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre at UBC, for inclusion in UBC’s Historic Newspaper Collection. The funding covering $4163.77 of the total $6751.65 cost, with the remaining $2587.88 for the project very generously donated by Alder Grove Heritage Society’s supporters.

The completion of part one of the Aldergrove Star Digitization Project enables anyone anywhere in the world with internet access the ability to read past issues of our community’s newspaper from 1957 through to the end of 1991 via the UBC Open Library, BC Historic Newspapers Collection. The open library collection at UBC is a valuable resource, and Alder Grove Heritage Society is very grateful to both UBC and the Library British Columbia History Digitization Centre for adding our Aldergrove Star collection and making it accessible to everyone.

“On behalf of my mother Inge Langmann, my late father Rudi Langmann, and the Langmann family, I wish to express heartfelt thanks to the Alder Grove Heritage Society and its donors and supporters for their work in making the editions of The Aldergrove Star from the years 1957 onward, eventually to the year 2000 available to the public via the internet at any time and from anywhere,” said retired Star editor Kurt Langmann.

“I know it will bring back memories for many people, and many of these memories will be other chapters not written down at the time but will be sparked by these Star news stories for many readers as they are for me. Some of the best stories never made it to print. I hope these stories are shared before they are lost forever.”

The second phase of this project involves scanning original copies of the Aldergrove Star, January 1992 through to the end of 2000, a process much more costly and labour intensive than digitizing the microfilms which have been returned to our museum. The physical newspapers are now at UBC Library undergoing preparation for Part 2 of the project.

Screenshot of Aldergrove Star online
Screenshot of the same newspaper in photo 1, from the UBC Open Library Historic Newspapers Collection

Alder Grove Heritage Society has received funding from the BCHDP in the amount of $10865.84 towards a total project cost of $16804.76, with the balance of $5938.92 to be covered by the society and its supporters, whose previous donations have given the society a good start on meeting its financial obligation for Part 2.

The BC History Digitization Program is pleased to support the efforts of the Alder Grove Heritage Society in digitizing and preserving the Aldergrove Star newspaper,” said Mimi Lam, BCHDP co-ordinator. “Projects like this provide public online access to unique and valuable BC historical content in the spirit of the program and the Barber Centre’s mission. Congratulations on the completion of the first phase of this project!”

Newspapers are an integral part of our history and the changes that our town underwent from the middle of the 20th century to the beginning of the new millennium, documenting everything from community and social events, economics, agriculture, politics, opinions, crimes and punishment to important milestones such as births, graduations, marriages, anniversaries and deaths. Their accessibility to readers now and into the future ensures that Aldergrove’s stories and those of its citizens will stay alive well into the future. It is also important to note that the Aldergrove Star is fully searchable either as a whole or paper by paper.

Aldergrove Star Page 6 February 5 1959
Aldergrove Star Page 6 February 5 1959 – Photo Credit AGHS

“The UBC Library Digitization Centre has enjoyed working on this important historical record and it has allowed us to add a significant body of information to the BC Historical Newspapers collection,” said Robert Stibravy, Librarian, Digital Projects | Services Infrastructure Librarian, Library Information Technology Management Unit, University of British Columbia.

Projects such as this demonstrate the importance of community museums and archives and the wealth of information they hold. The Alder Grove Heritage Society’s small band of volunteers has been working hard to catalogue, index and scan the museum’s archival holdings as it moves towards making its collections available online.

There is still much work to be done, anyone with an interest in local history is welcome to join the society in its endeavours and follow us on Facebook or Instagram to see the society’s progress. The Aldergrove Community Museum & Archives is open Sundays from 12-4pm and we invite you to visit us on Community Heritage Day, Saturday August 19 2023. Donations are gratefully accepted, and as a registered non-profit charity, tax receipts can be issued.

“Alder Grove Heritage Society is very excited to see this important project come to fruition, and it could not have been done without the gift to the society by the Langmann family of the Aldergrove Star collection, the hard work of its volunteers, the generosity of its supporters and grants such as the BCHDP,” said Alder Grove Heritage Society president Tami Quiring.  “Taking these historic editions of the Aldergrove Star online is a big step towards the society’s goal of making Aldergrove’s historic collections accessible to anyone who has an interest in our community’s heritage, and we are very grateful for the ongoing support we receive.”

Aldergrove Star Newspaper Digitization Project Part One Now Online