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Fri., Dec. 19
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Carthage Free Library collects histories

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CARTHAGE — As part of the Carthage Free Library’s centennial celebration, the staff is embarking on a project to compile oral and written histories from residents in Carthage and the surrounding area.

One of the project’s goals is to gather memories about the library. The library staff also hopes to include stories from veterans and success stories from local authors, musicians, artisans and politicians.

Once gathered, the stories will be digitally archived to preserve them for future generations.

Staff members, along with volunteers and village and town historians, have held five meetings during which more than 18 people were interviewed, said Chrystie A. Bockus, public computing center coordinator. The literature concerning the oral history project said subjects will review oral histories before they are posted to the website.

“This began as a 100-year celebration, but we would like to continue adding personal stories from community members even after the initial archive has been completed,” Mrs. Bockus said. “First-person accounts help us understand the changes Carthage has undergone in the last 100 years. It also gives us the opportunity to hear from those who helped shape and make Carthage what it is today.”

She emphasized the project will provide a resource for further research.

“Historians and citizens alike will be able to access these histories for future projects as well,” she added.

Mrs. Bockus and library assistant Michele L. Desrosiers are spearheading the project. Mrs. Bockus said they hope to have the archives available to the public by the fall, but would like to keep the project ongoing and add histories each year.

“This gives the library an opportunity to interface with the community and harvest personal stories we would not normally have access to,” said Ms. Desrosiers, who has more than nine years’ experience working in museums.

Another interview session is planned but the date is yet to be set. Written accounts may be emailed to carlib@ncls.org. Stories may also be submitted via the library website, www.carthagefreelibrary.org. Those wishing to submit an oral history may call the library at 493-2620 to set up an interview.

“We haven’t decided when we will present a ‘finished’ project to the community,” Mrs. Bockus said. “Michele and I have decided to focus on gathering interviews and processing the data. We are currently taking written submissions, interviewing interested parties and transcribing recorded interviews. We will not be ready to archive anything on the website until later this year.”

The finished project, which will be archived in the Heritage Room, also will be placed on the library’s website.

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