Project update: For the Record

Over the last few months, we’ve been working with CILIP Cymru Wales on For the Record, a participatory archive of the experiences of library workers in Wales during the COVID-19 global pandemic.

Inspired by the ‘citizen journalist’ approach of the Mass Observation Project and its voluntary, qualitative social research on everyday life, For the Record was conceived by Dr Amy Staniforth (CILIP Cymru Wales Relationship Manager) and the CILIP Cymru Wales Committee to capture and record the stories, observations and experiences of library and information workers at this moment in time.

We wanted to create a site that balanced being easy to use with creating a standards-based, interoperable collection. Alongside this, it was also envisaged as a prototype that could be up and running quickly and that could continue to evolve with the growing collection.

To encourage participation, a new theme was added weekly for 10 weeks, such as First Responses to Working Online, Leadership in Libraries, and Library of the Future, along with some prompts on the subject, but submissions could be about anything affecting the lives of library and information workers during lockdown.

It was important to enable people to share their stories in whatever format best worked for them, so contributions could be made in any combination of text, video, images and audio. We also added an option to contribute to the archive but keep the post private.

You can read about the project here. If you’re a library or information worker in Wales, sign up to contribute here. Or check out some of the submissions now available on the site. In An Unexpectedly Long Lockdown, Iona Hopkins writes about the challenges of mixing home life and work – and the value of animal therapy, and Alison Harding reflects on her leadership challenges, difficult decisions and lessons learned in coping with a global pandemic in A Sleepless Night. There are also thoughts on a new clarity of communication, a look at the unexpected positives of lockdown, and even a recording of birdsong.