I work for the Weber County Library, a 5-library system in Utah, 45 minutes north of Salt Lake City. In 2008 we started a One Community, One Book program called Weber Reads. We’ve read Beowulf, Frankenstein, Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer. Our 2011 program focuses on the Slave Narratives of Frederick Douglass and Harriet Jacobs.
My library system focuses on learning rather than entertainment, so I was not surprised when I was asked to combine our 2011 Teen Tech Week program with our Weber Reads program. The question was HOW? Lucky for me I listen to NPR on my 30-minute daily commute, and as I was listening one day, I heard about StoryCorps. StoryCorps is all about collecting and sharing people’s stories, and this struck a resonating chord with me. Regardless of our personal histories, we all have our stories to share.
With that as my inspiration, I decided to host a podcasting workshop for our 2011 Teen Tech Week. This program will combine hands-on podcasting, local family history and the Weber Reads Slave Narratives into a unique program geared to encourage teens to share and preserve their stories at their library.
Teens participating in “For the Record” will be encouraged to visit the library throughout the year to make use of the podcasting kit to record their personal stories. Teens can bring their siblings, parents and grandparents in to record the important stories of their families. All participants will receive a 2-gigabyte flash drive to record and keep their stories.
Programs like this create win-win situations! They are excellent candidates for grant funding through local humanities councils (funding which can be used to supplement the technology costs and/or supply prizes). They also provide a good reason to contact high school history teachers, who may be willing to promote your program (or even offer extra credit for attendance)!
How are you combining history and technology? Please let us know!