Telling Stories


California of the Past: Digital Storytelling ProjectTelling Stories

Two years ago the San Mateo County Library won a grant to participate in the statewide “California of the Past Digital Storytelling Project.” The Pacifica and Half Moon Bay libraries started recording short oral histories from local community members. These stories were turned into mini-movies that capture the thoughts, emotions, and memories of people who make up our local communities. The collection so far includes 49 stories recorded in Pacifica and Half Moon Bay.

We are proud to announce the project has grown and, with thanks to the California State Library (with funding from the US Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act), we now have more equipment to capture even more stories from the communities of San Mateo County. Currently the story station project is at the Brisbane and Belmont Libraries.

Glimpses of the Past

Those of us who have been involved in recording these stories never cease to be amazed at the enlightening experience one can have by simply listening. We invite you to listen to the stories told by your neighbors and enjoy the experience for yourself.

“Coastside War Stories” by Ray Martini. World War II veteran Ray Martini tells of his adventures in the Air Force during the war. Ray is a native Coastsider who was recently awarded a proclamation from the French government, honoring the him for his bravery during the war. The end of his story includes a particularly touching memory.

Also check out “Memories of Pacifica” by Helen James. Long-time resident and volunteer extraordinaire Helen James talks about various memories she has of living in Pacifica, including one of the rare times it actually snowed.

In “My Grandmother” by Erica Lopez, a Pacifica teen honors her Grandmother who recently passed away. Listening to this story reminds us to enjoy the time we have with those we love.

Visit the web site, San Mateo County Stories. The main site for the California project is Digital Story Station.

Get Involved

If you would like to participate, or know someone who does, please feel free to contact the Belmont or Brisbane Libraries. This project is for all ages! You can also see the stories on the Volume One collection DVD of “California of the Past: Pacifica / Coastside Stories” available in the Pacifica Libraries. If you’d like to view stories from the larger collection throughout California, see the “California Of The Past Digital Stories From The Golden State 2007-2010” video.


Author Bio:

Kim currently works at the Pacifica Libraries and thinks the library is a great place to listen to people's stories. The California of the Past digital storytelling project offers a way for our community members to tell and preserve their stories for anyone willing to listen to them. We invite you to listen, enjoy, and participate in this state-wide project. It is most definitely time well spent!

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