Longmont Public Library is inviting residents to participate in recording an oral history about how the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic is affecting them, their families and the community.
“Our community is currently living through one of those rare times in which we know — even as time is passing — that this is an historical moment,” library officials said in a news release.
“What will happen and who we will be on the other side of this crisis remains to be seen, but what we are experiencing right now will be remembered and retold and referred to for the rest of our lives.”
The Longmont Public Library has launched what it’s calling “#StrongmontStories, Sharing in Place,” to record those experiences.
Longmont librarian Devon Smith said, “We are doing this project do this to remind one another of our shared humanity, to strengthen and build the connections between people, to teach the value of listening, and to weave into the fabric of our culture the understanding that everyone’s story matters.
“At the same time, we are creating an invaluable archive of the COVID-19 experience for future generations,” Smith said in a statement.
Longmont’s local coronavirus history project is being done in conjunction with StoryCorps, a national nonprofit organization that Longmont Public Library said “promotes the preservation and sharing of humanity’s stories through informal interviews and personal narrations that are recorded and archived.”
#StrongmontStories about Longmont residents’ personal coronavirus pandemic-era stories will be uploaded to and accessed on the StoryCorps Community Page and eventually be archived at the Library of Congress.
The Longmont Public Library staff said it will be monitoring the StoryCorps and the library’s community guidelines, and questions that do not address the COVID-19 quarantine or that veer off topic may not be included in the public archive.
“Some examples of interviews that will be excluded are political rants, blaming races/groups of people for the cause of COVID-19, criticisms of other cultures, etc.,” Longmont’s library staff said in its news release.
Participants must join the StoryCorps Community Page before being able to upload. All voices heard in interviews — whether archived on the StoryCorps Archive website or not — must belong to individuals who have agreed to be recorded for a StoryCorps conversation.
Participation in this project is open to anyone who lives, works, goes to school or otherwise participates in the Longmont community on a regular basis.
Question prompts are provided,and participants encouraged to use those prompts, but they can also move onto other related topics. The question prompts are:
- “How has the COVID-19 quarantine impacted your life?”
- “What have you missed the most while being quarantined during the COVID-19 pandemic?”
- “Were there any benefits to being quarantined during the COVID-19 pandemic? What were they?”
- “What, if anything, will you do differently after the COVID-19 quarantine is over?”
While StoryCorps interviews do not have a minimum length, the maximum length is 45 minutes. As participants record their interviews in the app, they will be able to see the time elapsed and time remaining on the app screen. The app will automatically stop recording at minute 45. If you would like to record an interview for longer than 45 minutes, you can create a second recording (or more) and publish each one to the website as Parts I, II, etc.”
To join the #StrongmontStories Community Page and see complete instructions on conducting interviews, visit the Library’s webpage about the #StrongmontStories Oral History Project at bit.ly/StrongmontStories
Longmont officials said: “Residents with photos that document the experience of these extraordinary times in Longmont can contact the Longmont Museum’s Curator of History, Erik Mason, at Erik.Mason@longmontcolorado.gov, and help the Museum build an archive of #StrongmontStories photos.”
While the museum is currently closed to the public and not currently able to accept pictures and other items related to residents’ coronavirus era experiences, the museum staff will be starting a collection of COVID-19 objects when it reopens.
“So save those vacuum cleaner bag face masks,” city officials said.