09:16 AM

Library Launching COVID-19 Community Memory Archive

The Cal State San Marcos University Library has launched a new initiative that will seek to collect the experiences and memories of the campus and surrounding community during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

The project, called Together/Apart: The COVID-19 Community Memory Archive, invites anyone who lives, attends school, or works in North San Diego County to share their experiences amid these unprecedented times. Possible submissions include writings, photos, artwork, and more. In undertaking the project, the University Library hopes to preserve the record of day-to-day life in this country during a crisis of such a scale. 

“In the short term, the project has helped focus energy on bringing our campus and community together in a constructive way at a time that is uncertain and scary,” said Jennifer Fabbi, dean of the library. “We know people are documenting their daily experiences, continuing to teach their students and their children, providing essential services, creating art, and even finding humor, and we want to archive this time in our community’s history.  

“In the long term, this archive can be used by students and researchers to make sense of this time in history, and in the even longer term, our university library has the expertise to document and preserve this history for generations to come.” 

Archiving important events as they happen is a common response from special collections, archives and other cultural heritage organizations. In creating this initiative, the University Library was inspired by similar efforts being undertaken by groups including the library at Indiana University and the San Diego History Center, which has launched a project called History Happening Now.  

Among the submissions that the University Library will accept are physical or digital stories, journals, letters, essays, artworks, photographs, poems, songs, short videos, lesson plans, or any creation that documents your lived experience during the pandemic. Individuals also have the option of answering a short questionnaire about their experience.  

Together/Apart is particularly seeking the input of instructors at both the college and K-12 levels – not just personal reflections but lesson plans and thoughts on how their philosophy of teaching has changed.   

Details on how to make submissions for the project are available on its website. 

Together/Apart is being facilitated by the University Library’s Special Collections department. For questions about the project, please contact archives@csusm.edu.