- The COVID-19 project will collect, preserve and make available to the public the oral histories of healthcare workers affected by the pandemic
- The project will accept proposals from researchers to document the experiences of American frontline workers across many sectors
- The project will encourage the public to share their COVID-19 experiences with StoryCorps, a nonprofit group dedicated to preserving and sharing humanity's stories
Library of Congress Launches COVID-19 American History Project
Partnering with StoryCorps, the American Folklife Center Will Begin Collecting Stories from Frontline Healthcare Workers and Others Impacted by the Pandemic
The Library of Congress has announced the congressionally-funded COVID-19 American History Project, a multiyear effort to collect, preserve and make available to the public the oral histories of frontline healthcare workers, survivors of loved ones who died, and others impacted by the pandemic. The project will also encourage the public to share their COVID-19 experiences with StoryCorps, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving and sharing humanity’s stories.
The project is now accepting proposals from researchers to document the experiences of American frontline workers in a range of sectors — through photos, videos, field notes and audio recordings. Awardees will receive up to $30,000. Interested applicants are asked to submit initial concept papers by June 20 using this link. Selected applicants will be asked to submit full project proposals.
As part of the project, the Library’s American Folklife Center has created an online resource guide, highlighting the many COVID-19 oral history collections already developed from across the United States.
In addition, the American Folklife Center will encourage the public to share personal stories through StoryCorps by accessing a series of virtual tools available on this page. All stories recorded with StoryCorps will be preserved at the American Folklife Center.
Since the start of the pandemic in early 2020 and through May 6, 2023, more than 1 million Americans have lost their lives to COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, while the global public health crisis has challenged the U.S. healthcare system as never before.
“Every American has a unique story about the COVID-19 pandemic. It is vital that we document these stories so future generations will understand the trials, tribulations, and resilience of the American public during this tumultuous time,” said Nicole Saylor, director of the American Folklife Center. “We designed the COVID-19 American History Project so that many Americans, and key frontline workers, can share their stories and have them archived at the Library of Congress.”
Oral histories and related documentation kept at the American Folklife Center will provide historians, researchers, authors, journalists, government officials and the American public original sources of information to strengthen their understanding of individual and collective experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States — and extensive materials from around the world — both on-site and online. It is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office. Explore collections, reference services and other programs and plan a visit at loc.gov, access the official site for U.S. federal legislative information at congress.gov and register creative works of authorship at copyright.gov.
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