When I opened the article in the Bee Herald titled “Jefferson Public Library Project Puts 138 Years Of Microfilm Online”, I expected to read an article about the project to put 138 years of microfilm online by the Jefferson Public Library. I mean, that was the title of the article, what else would I expect it to be about?

I became instantly confused when Andrew McGinn’s first sentence read:

After a while, I had to start assuming it was a false memory, even though the fuzzy mental image of Darth Vader and C-3PO hanging out on the Square in Jefferson has been with me for as long as I can remember. 

Did I miss something? What could Star Wars possibly have to do with access to the historical newspapers digitized from microfilm?

In maybe the most enjoyable article I have read about one of our projects, Andrew McGinn shares how he discovered the digital archives of the Jefferson Public Library. “I ended up spending an entire afternoon on the site.” McGinn says in his article.

Please read it in its entirety here.

My favorite quote from Mr. McGinn:

The “Jefferson Iowa News” guys have photos from Jefferson Bicycle Days circa 1900, and of an I.O.O.F. parade around the Square in 1912 — but no one apparently thought to whip out a camera at the sight of a Dark Lord of the Sith standing across the street from Durlam & Durlam.

You can explore the archives of The Bee and The Jefferson Herald here.

Jane Millard, library director of the Jefferson Public Library is quoted in the article as saying “I love our local history,” and says she’s had no problem selling the project to community groups.

So what does all of this have to do with “Star Wars”?

Personally, I found myself essentially piecing together, via old stories and ads, the entire history of motion pictures in Jefferson.

Turns out, much like the rest of the country in 1977, Star Wars fever swept through Jefferson and the surrounding area. The paper reported that the movie had been seen by some residents three or four times.  The popularity led to a local “Star Wars Day” a couple years later in Jefferson Square.