A lot of us can recall stories and tales told to us by our grandparents when we were young. Many of us hung on to these oral histories and have retold them plenty of times to our children in the hopes that they, too, will keep the tradition going. But what would happen if these oral histories were lost? Future generations would never know about their family’s history. Such was almost the case for the Navajo Nation.
Posts Tagged ‘library local history collections’
Many of us are familiar with the concept of crowdfunding. Companies like Kickstarter allow anyone with an idea to solicit funds to make it a reality by posting their proposal online to invite anyone to donate money. Tens of thousands of people have contributed to the creation of new technology, music, software programs. Even canceled-but-beloved television shows like Reading Rainbow have been reborn thanks to the efforts of Kickstarter campaigns.
As a local history librarian, I read with great interest that Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has been amassing video interviews of music legends for an ongoing oral history project. It is encouraging to learn that they, too, recognize the value of this preservation format in collecting first-person history. With greater interest, I read further that they recently interviewed four greats together: Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Fats Domino. But they ran into some difficulty. Little Richard dominated the interview, and they had to tape the other three individually the next day. These museum curators were unaware of the dangers of the multiple-person interview. Less can equal more. Oral histories are most effective when the interviews are one-on-one. How do I know this, and why is it of interest to me? Over the past ten years at Way Public Library (WPL) in Perrysburg (OH), I have conducted dozens of oral history interviews.
Not many medium-sized cities in the United States are recognizable by most of the country. Lancaster, Pennsylvania, I like to think, is one of those places, bringing to mind horse-drawn buggies, farmers markets, and family-style dinners (think chuck-wagon for you folks out west). Granted, reality is never quite as perfect as the brochure, but it’s […]