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The Kalamazoo Public Library is collecting COVID-19 pandemic photos and stories for local history archival purposes, according to a press release from the Kalamazoo Public Library.

“The COVID-19 Pandemic has affected all of us in many different ways and we are all eyewitnesses to this important time in our history,” the release said. “To preserve this snapshot in time, Kalamazoo Public Library is collecting materials that demonstrate the impact of coronavirus and COVID-19 on our community. The goal is to preserve the stories and images of our daily lives during the crisis and to provide future historians, researchers, and students with information and data on life in our community during the pandemic.”

Ryan Gage, the library’s local history manager, said the project is meant to capture the pandemics impact on the community through a variety of digital media.

He said they are currently receiving images, stories and things people typically wrote in a journal 100 years ago. They are also receiving items such as poems.

Gage said that hopefully in six months, they will be able to arrange the content they received into something accessible to the public.

Some of the material will be featured on the Kalamazoo Public Library Local History website. The material in the library will be available to scholars in the future who want to learn about the experiences of the pandemic. 

Gage said it was important to begin documenting the pandemic while it is occurring. 

“We wanted to get this out there while memories are still raw and fresh,” Gage said. “People want to move on, so we wanted to get out there while people still have their memories.”

Gage said they are looking for a wide range of perspectives. He added that these perspectives may be positive or negative.

The guidelines for the submissions include:

  • All accepted items will be made available for public research by the Kalamazoo Public Library.

  • By submitting content through this form, you are granting the library non-exclusive (shared), royalty-free license to preserve, modify, and share your content for public research, educational use, exhibits, or publication, including in print or online.

  • Kalamazoo Public Library reserves the right to remove content that it considers duplicative, inappropriate, or outside the scope of this project. The library is not obligated to include your content in this project or preserve it in perpetuity.

  • Please only submit written, photographic, audio, or video material that you own or have created. If you would like to refer or nominate material which you do not own, please contact localhistory@kpl.gov.

  • You must be 18 years of age or older to submit content.  If you are under 18, please ask a parent or guardian to submit content on your behalf.

Those interested in submitting materials can head over to the library's website.

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