Microfilm & Providence Journal (ProJo) Research




PPL has two digital microform readers that patrons can use in the library to view microfilm reels or microfiche cards. Scans or image captures can be enhanced and saved as files for storage, attachment, or upload. Patrons are welcome to use the readers to view their own microform documents. Please call 455-8000 or email info@provlib.org to make an appointment.


PPL’s holdings of ProJo on microfilm cover the time period of 1829 to 2019. Microfilm must be viewed in person. Microfilm isn’t searchable, so items can be found by scrolling only. Therefore, a date of publication or date of death is generally needed in order to locate an article or obituary on microfilm.


PPL subscribes to Newsbank’s text-only online database that covers the period of 1981 to the present. A PPL library card – barcode prefix 21116 – is required to log into the database. The database is fully searchable. If you do not have a PPL library card, we can search for items in the database and send them to you in PDF form.


Evening Bulletin was an evening edition of ProJo that ran from 1863 to 1995. PPL holds a complete run of Evening Bulletin on microfilm.


PPL holds other RI newspapers in print and on microfilm. Please see the Rhode Island Collections subject guide and click on the “Rhode Island Newspapers” tab for more info, including a list of RI newspapers available at other libraries.


Finding items on microfilm takes time. Due to staff availability, we strongly encourage patrons to visit the library to view microfilm in person. Requests can be made for up to 3 items each month, for a total of up to 10 items per year. Additional requests are $5 each to process, when staff availability allows. Payment must be received before our search can begin. Search time is limited to 20 minutes for each item, and results are not guaranteed.


Before making a request for obituaries on microfilm, please determine the person’s date of death to the best of your ability. You can use Ancestry.com if you have a PPL library card, or FamilySearch if you do not.

If you need help, a librarian can access these databases to help determine the date of death for you.


Before requesting an article on microfilm, please ascertain the date and information contained in the article to the best of your ability. Our librarians are here to help. However, without definite dates or specific information, it is exceedingly difficult to locate items on microfilm. Unless an item can be located quickly, we ask that researchers come to the library or send a representative to conduct the research on their own time.

If you do not know the date of an article, the Rhode Island Collection Index is a limited subject index that makes it possible to find articles under notable names and other significant headings. The Index is in the form of a card catalog and can be used in the library only. However, we can search the Index on your behalf and let you know if an entry exists for what you’re looking for.

The Index is a valuable tool for conducting research on individuals, places, and events. More information about the Index can be found in our Rhode Island Collections subject guide.


If you have a PPL library card – barcode prefix 21116 – please access the database online.

If you do not have a PPL library card, call 455-8000 or email info@provlib.org to make a request. There is no limit to the number of articles or obituaries that you can request from the database. PDF files will be sent to your email for free. Up to 5 pages can also be mailed to you free of charge. Additional pages are 50 cents each.