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Community Archiving Strategies for Oral History

Tuesday, 4/29/2020
1:00-2:00pm CT
Cost: Free

Oral History within the context of Community Archiving: In our setting at Queens Public Library, we’ve found that it helps to have events like story sharing circles to engage and empower communities to participate in oral history work. Public programs on local history help us identify good candidates to sit for full (1-2 hour-long) oral history interviews with our interviewers. We have worked out some tried and true models for these public programs that I will discuss as a way to engage a community you’d like to organize an oral history project with. It’s always been important within the Queens Memory context to not just be focused on collecting for our archives, but also spend time with community members helping them build the skills they need to interview the elders in their lives, preserve the artifacts in their own families, and generally see themselves as part of history.

Learning Outcomes

Following this session, participants will be able to return to their teams back at home with some exciting, field-tested and well documented ideas they could implement in their local context. They will also learn some tips on what didn’t work so well for my team that can save them some time and effort!

Who Should Attend

Librarians and archivists working within communities they wish to engage in community archiving projects.


Natalie Milbrodt leads the Queens Public Library’s Metadata Services Division, responsible for the library’s oral history and community archiving program, digitization, and cataloging. She serves on the Oral History Association’s Metadata Task Force and as an advisory board member for Global Grand Central, the New York State Archives and Wikitongues.

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