Libraries are rich in resources such as local newspapers and magazines. There are many library users who value the opportunity to uncover long-forgotten stories of local people and places. However, newspapers become increasingly fragile and delicate as time passes, so in order to preserve this wealth of information for future generations SWRLS conceived and pioneered the Newsplan project in collaboration with the British Library Newspaper Library.
The aim is to build up a comprehensive archive of local newspapers by microfilming papers that are 'in peril'. The project has been expanded to include all regions in the British Isles. The importance of the scheme is recognised by public libraries and the newspaper industry and in 1999 Newsplan was granted £5 million Heritage Lottery Fund Award towards microfilming 3,500 titles. The SW bid was for 246 titles.
The South West Newsplan Group meets twice yearly and is attended by local history librarians from the region.
Newspapers are invaluable and irreplacable sources of local and national history. As a result of Newsplan, library users are able to access information, pictures and articles that were previously destined to languish and eventually disintegrate.