New York Public Library’s ‘Pandemic Diaries’ Is Your Chance to Make Your Mark on History

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Though the day to day living through the COVID-19 pandemic may not always feel noteworthy, future generations will likely study this period of time in their history classes. And now is the chance for anyone hoping to have their experience represented accurately to have their story heard. 

The New York Public Library wants anybody over the age of 18 to submit audio recordings of their experiences with the coronavirus pandemic. It’s part of their “Pandemic Diaries” project. 

“It's really important for people to understand that history is not just about the experiences of politicians or leaders, but that it's really about the everyday experiences of citizens. And these are the stories that we want to capture,” Curator Julie Golia told Inside Edition Digital. 

Submissions will become part of the library’s research collections. 

“We welcome stories on anything having to do with the pandemic, which is so many things, of course,” Golia said. "Experiences of trauma and loss, healthcare, experiences in hospitals and with doctors, what has happened with families, how has education been reshaped during this period? 

“The way that the pandemic has intersected with experiences of activism and protest against racial injustice and so many more different kinds of stories,” she continued. “Anything that is about COVID and people's experiences in COVID we want to hear it.”

Thus far, the project has received a number of stories in several languages. 

“Whatever people are most comfortable speaking in,” Golia said, stressing stories in any language are welcome. Stories have poured in from numerous fields, including healthcare and education. 

“And we've heard actually a number of memorials to people who lost loved ones … And I think the thing that is the through line for the stories that we received so far is that they're personal,” Golia said. “They're personal stories and it makes a real difference hearing them from the people who've actually experienced them.”

To submit a pandemic diary, visit www.nypl.org/pandemic-diaries.

“We wanted to make the pandemic diary submission process as simple as possible for people. And so on the website where people will go to submit their stories, we have very clear directions on how to do it,” Golia said. “It takes people usually less than 30 minutes, start to finish, to record their story, and then to submit it. Essentially, you record your story, your audio recording of your story on your phone or your computer using the built in voice memos app that is on most computers.”

Submissions for phase one of the Pandemic Diaries project are being accepted through Nov. 18.

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