What's Your Story? Digital Storytelling Project


How Did It Used To Be?

I loved studying history but a lot of my classmates didn't--it was all dates, facts, wars, and politics. What was missing was the human element--what was it like to live then? What did people eat? What jobs did they do? What were the parties like? Did they really have to carry water all the way from the river?


My great-grandfather, who fought in the Civil War as a line soldier, kept a journal and reading it is fascinating, like having him there recounting his adventures, learning first-hand about the deprivations of war. But how many people keep a detailed journal? Not many, and so their stories are often lost. One of the benefits of the digital age is that current personal histories can be recorded and preserved for future generations relatively easily.

Oral History

The Pacifica Libraries have embarked upon an oral histories project funded by a grant from the State Library called California of the Past: Digital Storytelling. For the project, participants are asked to tell one story from their lives, something particularly meaningful that relates to their experience of coming to or living in California, particularly on the Coast. Each story is 3-5 minutes long and can incorporate photographs, video, music--anything that helps to flesh out the story and make it come alive.

We Need You

So, we need your story! Everyone has one and future generations will thank you for sharing your experiences with them. Contact either Kim Day at 355-5196 or day@smcl.org or Joe Toschik at the Half Moon Bay Library at 726-2316 or toschik@smcl.org to make an appointment to come in to preserve your piece of the present and the past. You can view stories at Digital Story Station. Once there,  click on Channels (you will need to scroll all the way down, past San Diego), and choose San Mateo County. I did one and it was way fun!

Author Bio: 

Thom Ball has worked in libraries for over 20 years: first managing the PLS Video Center, where he was in charge of the operation, including collection development of the video collection; then as a Branch Manager in the San Mateo County Library system as manager of the Atherton, Portola Valley and Woodside Libraries. Thom has been the manager of the Pacifica Libraries for the past 4 years. Before working in libraries he was a professional musician playing throughout California and the Midwest. Thom still does a Musical Storytime at the libraries to keep his chops up. There are few things more rewarding than playing music, reading stories, and being goofy for a bunch of little kids.

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