What is Microfilm?
Microfilm is a type of microform, is a film reel with tiny images printed on it, typically 35mm wide. It provides space-efficient long-term storage of large images such as newspapers, maps and journals.
In the digital age, microfilm might seem outdated. However, it offers the following advantages:
- Saves space by holding a large amount of content on a relatively small amount of storage medium.
- It is stable with an estimated shelf-life of over 500 years (!)
- Accessing microfilm content only requires light and magnification.
Newspapers and Equipment Available
The Creativity Commons has a USB scanner for accessing archive reel newspapers. Newspapers include:
- Times Colonist (also listed as Victoria Daily Times and Daily Colonist)
- December 11 1858-December 2010
- Nanaimo Daily News
- April 1874 – January 2016
- Alberni Valley Times
- Ladysmith Chronicle
- BC Census
- 1881, 1891, 1901
Using the Microfilm Station
The microfilm station is available on a first-come, first-served basis and can be booked ahead of time for up to three hours. The only cost is printing pages from your search. Results can also be saved digitally on a USB stick.
Rules for Booking Microfilm Station
- You must have a valid Vancouver Island Regional Library card.
- You must be 13 years or older or accompanies by an adult.
Alternate Ways of Accessing Archive Newspapers
- You can also search online through the Canadian Newsstream database on our website. VIRL’s Courtenay branch also has access to microfilm for Comox Free Press from 1910-June 1983. Find out more about this service here.