“California of the Past” Digital Storytelling Project


Come Tell a Story! The San Mateo County Libraries invite you to ADD YOUR STORY to our collection of "California of the Past" Stories!


The Digital Story Project is an opportunity to spotlight something important to your life in the context of California history; it will be available for future generations to see and hear local history as it happened to you. Your story will be part of an ever-expanding collection that will help us better understand ourselves and one another, and connect our lives to the people and places that make up our community.

With digital tools and media, we are working to record and preserve unique memories of our community for future generations, weaving together voice, video, personal photographs and images, documents and music to make a lasting testimony of a moment in our history.

A media specialist will assist you every step of the way as you record your 2-3 minute digital story, which can be illustrated with your own photos and videos. Your recorded story will be archived at the Library, posted on the San Mateo County Stories website, and you'll also receive your own DVD copy to take home.

If you are interested in telling your story, please phone to schedule an appointment: (650) 355-5196 (PACIFICA) or (650)726-2316 (Half Moon Bay).

  • WHERE: The story stations are located at the Pacifica - Sharp Park Library, 104 Hilton Way, Pacifica CA. 94044 and the Half Moon Bay Library, 620 Correas Street, Half Moon Bay, CA 94019 . Please let us know if you can’t make it into the Library to tell your story. We will be happy to make other arrangements.
  • THE PROCESS: If you are not sure what story you want to tell, we have tools to help you get started. (If you already know the story you'd like to tell, then the tools and techniques found here may shed new light on that story!)
  • WATCH: Watch examples of other people's digital stories. Use these to help you decide what kind of story you'd like to tell, and how you want to tell it.
  • TELL: You can use our Story Starter Forms to create the building blocks for your story. The forms can be used as the basis for your script, or just to help you brainstorm ideas. Writing down your story first - or just the main points - will make it much easier when it's time for you to record. Some storytellers are comfortable reading from a script; others prefer to be more spontaneous and unstructured, referring to their main points. Please try to keep your story to around 2-3 minutes though! (You can always do more than one.)
  • CREATE: When you've written your story, you're ready for the next step. You will record your story on video by sitting in front of a computer webcam.. Help will be available at all times, and the recording process usually takes about one hour.
  • SHOW: Once you have completed your digital story, your video will be edited and uploaded to our website and we'll put it on a DVD for you to keep!



Kimberly Day
Pacifica - Sharp Park Library
(650) 355-5196


Joe Toschik
Half Moon Bay Library
(650) 726-2316

California of the Past is supported in whole or in part by a California State Library grant, by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, administered in California by the State Librarian via Califa with services provided by Media Arts Center San Diego.