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Library Digitizing Historic Sun Newspapers; Some Issues Unavailable During Process

Library’s Center for Local History is creating a unique, searchable index of 20th century area news

Arlington Public Library’s microfilm collection of the Northern Virginia Sun–originally the Arlington Sun–is being converted to a digital, full-text database–a boon for researchers, history buffs and anyone searching for specific moments in Arlington’s 20th century story.


The collection from 1935 through September 1978 will be unavailable at times as the work is completed off-site.

Until now, historic issues of the Sun had no formal index, making the search for specific stories almost impossible without knowing a publication date. The Sun was published as a thick broadsheet Monday through Saturday for much of its existence.

The digitized versions of the Sun will be available on public workstations in the Center for Local History at Central Library. The digitization was made possible by the Friends of Arlington Public Library.

The Northern Virginia Sun ceased publication in 1998 but much of its identity was transferred to the Arlington Sun Gazette, which remains a weekly published by Northern Virginia Media Services.

Arlington Public Library also offers digital online issues of the Alexandria Daily Gazette dating back to 1808–more than a century before Arlington was established as a separate county. Among the thousands of other newspapers available in the Library’s collection are historic digital issues of the Washington Evening Star and Washington Post.



Comments (8)

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  1. Joyce Wolfe says:

    This is exciting news! But when will the current reels of the Northern Virginis Sun be unavailable? Have they already been removed from the library?

    Thank you,

    Joyce Wolfe

    • Public Information Officer says:

      Hi Joyce,

      As many reels are unavailable now through mid-July, please call the Center for Local History at 703-228-5996 to ask about the specific dates that you need.

  2. Robyn Carter says:

    This is wonderful news!! I also hope that it will be made available as an online resource rather than just on the on-site workstations.

    If anyone with the ability to make it happen is reading….also please get the entire Washington/Evening Star collection digitized and made available online as well. Looks like it’s been done up to the 1920s but I (and I’m sure many others) could really use the full resource up to when it shut down and was purchased by The Washington Post. The microfilm copies are often so dark that you can’t make out the pictures so hopefully a full, clear version of The Star will soon be available as it is with The Post. Again……this news about The Sun is fantastic. Thank you.

    • Public Information, Arlington Public Library says:

      Hi Robyn,

      The Library is working toward expanding its digital online offerings of the Star. Hopefully that will solve the resolution problem of microfilm. Stay tuned and thanks for asking.

  3. keith says:

    When will the digitized version be available for the public?

    • Public Information Officer says:

      The digitizing should be wrapping up in the next few weeks if we remain on track. We will post something when it does. Thanks for asking.

  4. charles corry says:

    Whatever happened to the NO VA Sun project? I see no mention of it on current library website or don’t know where to look…?

    • Web Editor says:

      Hi Charles, the Northern Virginia Sun can now be found in the Center for Local History’s Community Archive. Additional issues are still being added as they are scanned.

      You can find the Community Archive by navigating on the Library website to our Local History page (use the “Collections” drop down menu in the orange bar at the top of the page) then choose Digital Collections.

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