BY BILL FERRIS
The Mini Page is all grown up. After delighting young readers for more than 40 years in newspapers across the country, this beloved insert has found a new home online. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Library has published digital archives of The Mini Page‘s more than 2,000 issues dating from 1969 through 2007.
The collection, donated by The Mini Page founder and first editor, Betty Debnam, contains decades’ worth of lessons, activities, puzzles, pictures, and recipes based on a different topic each week. Biff Hollingsworth, a library staffer who works in the Southern Historical Collection, worked closely with Debnam to achieve her vision for how the archive should appear. “She’s considering this as a way to make sure all the issues she’s worked so hard on are given a new life,” Hollingsworth said.
Educators can put the archive to use in a variety of ways, according to Hollingsworth. If a class wanted to look at how African American history was celebrated over the last 40 years, for example, they can compare early Mini Page issues with today’s. In addition, since The Mini Page is written for early readers, the plain language might be helpful for ESL students learning to read a new language.
Visitors can currently search the collection based on date, title, people, places, and topics. Library staff are working hard to make The Mini Page archive more searchable, adding keywords and other metadata. Hollingsworth went on to say that if educators would like to be able to search via additional criteria, they can submit a request through the library contact page.