Newspapers also give a window into the life of the time and location. In small town newspapers, you often find references that Aunt Sally went to shopping in the big city, or that Cousin Joe broken his arm falling out of the apple tree.
For an example of what you may find, take a look at some extracts from the 1880s from a small town newspaper called the Leon Indicator, Leon, Butler County, Kansas. These are extracts about the Beadles family who moved to Kansas from Fulton County, IL, as well as other Illinois names and places which I recognized.
Periodically, the Illinois State Library publishes a special report listing the titles available through the Historical Library, as well as titles known to have been published. Anyone who has missing titles or issues are asked to contact the library. See, for example:
Newspapers in the Historical Library, Illinois State Library Special Report Series, Vol. 1 Issue 1, 1994, Cheryl Pence (guest editor), George H. Ryan, Secretary of State of Illinois and State Librarian.This book has 144 pages of titles and issue dates for Illinois newspapers and a few non-Illinois newspapers. The book is organized alphabetically by city or town of publication. There is also an alphabetical listing of counties which lists those towns in each county with further listings in the book.
You will also want to check the web site ILLINOIS NEWSPAPER PROJECT which provides similar information.
Contact your local library for assistance in obtaining film on interlibrary loan.