After the Weare Community News shut down in October 2016 and Goffstown News stopped reporting on Weare, N.H., the public library took it upon itself to quench the thirst for information in what was a “news desert.”
Weare Public Library director Michael Sullivan just capped off a year in March of publishing the weekly four-page newspaper Weare in the World. Sullivan, who has no newspaper experience beyond school newspapers, said he took on the role out of necessity after the closure of their local newspaper.
“The lack of news was so blatant. It was a ‘news desert’ as I call it,” said Sullivan. “And that makes it hard to get a sense of community going.”
Now since he began printing the paper, Sullivan said the community’s attention and contributions to Weare in the World are growing every day.
“A lot of people have really noticed it,” he said. “Readers have taken off on it before contributors but now more and more people are contributing to it.”
The paper is far from typical. Sullivan does the majority of the writing with the exceptions of some contributors. It’s assembled using Microsoft Word and printed in the library on ledger-sized paper, and the entire library team helps fold the paper when the 240 copies of the fresh edition gets printed each week. Sullivan said about 40-50 copies are downloaded online each week.
Weare in the World officially comes out every Wednesday, is delivered to local businesses, costs the library budget about $25 a week to produce and, at times, can take an endless amount of time to assemble, said Sullivan. But he loves it and said he knows how valuable the service is to the community.
“You’d never guess all this is going on in this little town until you put it in black and white,” Sullivan said. Because of the publication, community events like the town’s Christmas party and even the Old Home Day (a New England tradition) “have had a great year” because the information was printed and shared with the town.
Each day Sullivan works to make Weare in the World better and expansive. Most recently, the newspaper produced articles on candidates and ballot measures of a local election with the help of a former librarian who wrote an article for each ballot measure up for a vote.
This is a new image for a local, public library, but Sullivan believes it’s a good one.
“It’s a great role,” he said. “If people are coming to us for information and people are coming to us to give information, it kind of puts us in the middle of everything.”