21 years of LCCC Wingspan issues available online

CHEYENNE, Wyoming – More than 20 years of The Wingspan, Laramie County Community College’s award-winning student newspaper, is available online for free, thanks to a collaboration between LCCC and the Wyoming State Library. 

The digitization effort has resulted in 119 Wingspan issues, dating from Oct. 16, 2000, to May 12, 2021, being freely available in the Wyoming Digital Newspapers Collection. The pages can be easily browsed with magnification features, the text is displayed in a window next to the pages and the pages can be downloaded. Users can also search for terms that appear in the Wingspan.

J O’Brien, LCCC’s Communication & Creative Arts Pathway coordinator, said it’s exciting because the Wingspan is the most comprehensive history of the college available.

“There’s nowhere else where we are curating and celebrating and keeping track of all the great things that happen on campus,” he said.  

PDF files of Wingspan pages were sent to the Wyoming State Library where a team worked to integrate them into the newspaper archive. It was an interesting project for Jessica Otto, digital initiatives specialist at the Wyoming State Library, because she was the Wingspan’s online editor in spring and summer 2015, and was involved with the paper doing graphic design and writing throughout her two years at LCCC. 

“I’m excited by the fact that I went to LCCC and I get to see now some of the things that I worked and that my classmates worked on preserved forever,” Otto said. 

It’s been fascinating, Otto said, to see the changes that take place through 21 years at the paper. 

“You can see a really big evolution,” she said. “Some of the earlier issues were talking about the internet and how that can be helpful to students.” 

Meghan Kelly, LCCC Library & Learning Commons associate dean, said it’s important to digitize newspapers like the Wingspan because it preserves the content from its current fragile medium.

“Adding The Wingspan to the Wyoming Digital Newspaper Collection is exciting because it makes more LCCC historical information widely available to alumni and the community,” she said.

The Wyoming Digital Newspaper Collection is a partnership between the University of Wyoming Libraries and Wyoming State Libraries that features a wealth of reliable information from first-hand accounts valuable to historians, genealogists, students and scholars. The earliest archive dates back to 1849. Intriguing highlights include five German prisoner of war camp titles, the Heart Mountain Sentinel, Italian-language newspapers from Rock Springs and papers that survived for only a brief time before disappearing in the boom-and-bust ghost towns of Wyoming and the West.

Collaborators are currently gathering quotes and attempting to identify funding for digitizing Wingspan editions spanning from 1970-1999.

The digitized Wingspan collection is available at wyomingnewspapers.org. For more information about the Communication & Creative Arts Pathway, visit lccc.wy.edu/pathways or contact J O’Brien, Pathway Coordinator at 307.778.1368 or jobrien@lccc.wy.edu.