WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The Wichita Public Library wants your help to document the effects the pandemic has had on our community through a project they are calling “Tell Your COVID Story.”

The phrase “unprecedented times” has been repeated throughout the pandemic in many contexts. Often, when historians document times of great importance in our history, they are drawn to firsthand accounts as critical resources to help them shape the narrative. These resources can include diaries, family photos, letters, text messages, even emails. All of these forms of documentation can provide valuable context to those who lived during “unprecedented times.”

Back in October, the library received an American Rescue Plan Act grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services for this project. The library’s ‘Special Collections’ section will lead this project.

“The special collection section is a great resource for the community to learn about Wichita’s history,” said Sarah Kittrell, Collection Development Manager for the Library. “This project will help current, and future generations understand what Wichita was like in the years 2020 and 2021 navigating a global pandemic, community discussions on social justice, and personal and community responsibility relating to public health and safety.”

The library’s staff members will solicit and collect submissions relating to community members’ lives and experiences during the pandemic. This includes written memories, photographs, videos, and more.

They plan on paying extra close attention to the experiences of healthcare workers, frontline workers, small business owners, educations, students, minority communities, and local politicians.

Those who wish to participate can submit their stories online by completing the library’s 21-question submission form, emailing it to tellyourstory@wichitalibrary.org, or bringing physical materials to the Research Pavilion at the Advanced Learning Library, where staff can make arrangements to digitize the material and return them to you.

Once the stories have been collected, staff will upload content to an online platform that residents can access.

To learn more, visit the Wichita Public Library’s website.