|Photo by Eli Pousson|
That's why I'm so grateful to be working on an oral history project in Station North this spring that allows me to represent the library and engage with local artists and community members to record their histories. The contributions of the people I've interviewed so far are tremendous, and their willingness to share their stories continues to amaze me. As an archivist, my job is to collect, describe, preserve, and provide access to unique materials. As an archivist actively collecting oral histories, this project of asking questions and listening very closely to the answers is teaching me about memory, engagement, community, and the process of meaning-making. It is learning through dialogue.
As much as I look to the web to learn and communicate, there is truly no substitute for face to face interaction. The process of going out and asking people to share their histories is challenging and potentially transformative, because it connects me to people and places, past and present, in ways I might otherwise miss. It also connects the archives to people and places, past and present. Is meaning-making a legitimate archival endeavor? I'm all ears.