Oak Park Oral History Project

What changes in the world have surprised you the most? Who has been the biggest influence on your life? Try asking a family member, neighbor, or friend today.

And while you’re at it, record those conversations for the Oak Park Oral History Project! This new digital library initiative captures and shares local oral histories through an online collection.

“It’s so interesting to hear people’s experiences and find that there is so much we all have in common,” says Digital Learning Librarian Rose Barnes. “Hearing people’s stories forges connections and builds community, for generations to come.”

Oak Park Oral History Project logo

Submit your oral history

  • Anyone can submit a story (or stories!) at any time.
  • As your public library, our goal is to build a wide range of experiences that reflect Oak Park’s uniqueness, connectedness, and diversity.
  • Personal anecdotes featuring collective cultural wisdom and treasured local experiences are most welcome.
  • Before you submit your story, please be sure it is an MP3 audio file and an original work to which you own the rights.

How to record

Ready to get start recording? All you need is a device with a microphone!

Oak Park Oral History Project kit

Check out a recording kit

Oak Park Public Library cardholders can check out kits designed specifically to record personal stories for submission to the collection. Kits include an iPod with a charging cable, a microphone, professional headphones, and an instruction sheet, all in a plastic carrying case.

  • Use a kit inside the library for up to two hours at a time (available at the third floor service desk in the Main Library)
  • Check out a kit for one week at a time (available in the Main Library Lobby) or place a kit on hold »

Use your own equipment

You can use most smartphones, tablets, laptops, desktop computers, or any digital device with a microphone. We recommend downloading the Voice Record Pro app from the app store on iOS and Android devices.

Get technical support

  • Just stop by. Tech Time drop-in sessions are held most Wednesdays, 11 am-1 pm, in the Main Library Computer Classroom. See the calendar »
  • Request an appointment. Complete this easy online form. We will contact you to confirm your specific date and time. Request an appointment »

What to ask during an oral history interview

Not sure how to get the conversation started? We’ve created some prompts to help open up conversation. Try these prompts »

Explore the Oak Park Oral History Project

Hear the stories and personal histories of your neighbors.

This new digital library initiative is funded in part by a grant from AgeOptions.

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