Collective Memory Initiative

Banner with the text. "COVID-19 Collective Memory Initiative"

Watertown residents have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic in varied and inspirational ways. As we support each other and our community during this unprecedented time, the staff of the Watertown Free Public Library believe it is important to document the experience.

The act of preserving and chronicling history is a core and vital function of libraries. WFPL is, therefore, establishing the COVID-19 Collective Memory Initiative to gather and preserve the experiences, thoughts, and writings of Watertown residents as we live through this historic time. Collecting testimonies about how COVID-19 has affected the community will give future generations primary source materials to understand our world, while strengthening our town’s solidarity in the present.

WFPL is establishing a series of programs to collect storytelling and writing about life during the COVID-19 pandemic. We encourage you to help us document this historic time! Here’s how you can get involved:

Write Your History: Coronavirus Diaries Writing Program 

(FOR ADULTS) Join us for a weekly series of writing workshops to help you record your experiences of this time in diary or journal form. Workshops will provide a safe space for participants to start a journal, or workshop material already in progress. No writing experience necessary! WFPL will collect these accounts and maintain them as part of our Local History Collection.

Button with a link: Learn more about the Coronavirus Diaries program. Opens in new window

Speak Your Truth: Watertown Coronavirus StoryCorps Project 

(FOR ALL AGES) StoryCorps, as featured on NPR and supported by the Library of Congress, is the leading open source archive for Oral History testimonials. The Watertown Free Public Library will be conducting interviews of Watertown residents (via Zoom) about their COVID-19 pandemic experiences to create a StoryCorps Oral History collection. We want to hear from you! 

Button with a link: Submit and interview request. Opens in new window

My True Story: Writing Contest to Collect Teen Reflections of COVID-19

(FOR TEENS IN GRADES 6-12) WFPL is hosting a writing competition for teens that live or go to school in Watertown. Finalists in both middle and high school categories will win Amazon gift cards and all submissions will be made part of the Library’s local history collection.

Button with a link: Learn more about the My True Story program. Opens in new window