FARMINGTON — The Daily Times on Thursday will debut a community center that offers wireless Internet access, computers for public use and searchable digital archives from more than a century of the newspaper's history.

A grand opening will be from 4 to 6 p.m., with a ribbon cutting scheduled for 5 p.m. The community center is in The Daily Times' building at 201 N. Allen Ave.

"We have more than 100 years' worth of history that's available to the public," said John Elchert, publisher of The Daily Times. "That's something that we can provide that nobody else can provide, that historical perspective on the community."

In partnership with The Daily Times, San Juan College put in digital form editions of the newspaper going back to 1901. Users can now search names, dates or keywords, giving history buffs access to accounts of San Juan County events.

Previously, researchers had to comb through microfilm reels.

"It really was a bit of a nightmare trying to find things before," said Chris Schipper, director of library services at San Juan College. "Now it really is a lot easier."

The archives cover all sections of the newspaper, including news, sports, obituaries and even classified ads. Access to the digital archives is available at The Daily Times, San Juan College and the Aztec and Bloomfield public libraries.

"I'm just totally delighted that we're finally able to make this available to people," said Schipper, who had worked for years to digitize The Daily Times' archives.


The community center will be open during regular business hours, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Groups can also make special arrangements to use the room. The center is equipped with six computer terminals, a TV and printer.

The room will also be furnished with library books and landmark front pages from the newspaper's archives. Community art groups will be invited to display their art on a rotating basis.

Part of the mission of the community center is to provide readers and local residents with greater access to The Daily Times' staff.

"We want them to feel welcome to come in, use that space and converse with us as often as possible," Elchert said.