by Stephen Dafoe
With Morinville Community Library staff unable to visit area seniors as they usually do, and to help with Morinville and area seniors who are feeling isolated, library employee Ginger Blanchette came up with an idea to help.
Tell Us Your Story is a new program where seniors wanting to tell a story can call the library at 780-939-3292 to register or online at bit.ly/moristor.
A library staff member will call that person between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on the day they choose – Monday to Thursday. The senior can also tell the library what times they do not want to be called. Seniors will have up to 30 minutes on their given day to share their stories.
When we first had to close our doors to the public, we started brainstorming ways we could keep providing services to people without asking them to use the internet,” said Public Services Librarian Alliah Krahn. “We knew that in moving a lot of our programs and services online, we would be missing out on being there for some of our patrons who aren’t as tech-savvy. We also knew that COVID-19 closures were going to be making a lot of people, particularly seniors, feel more isolated than they ever had before. Creating phone-in programs became a big priority for us to make sure that we were including everyone in keeping our community connected.”
Beyond the phone call and social contact, library staff will type what they say and save their story. The library will keep the stories, and depending on permissions received will post the written version on the library website or social media pages after the library reopens again.
Once the library resumes operations again, the senior could come into the library and read or record their own story to be shared on social media.
Other possibilities include a movie night of seniors’ stories, the development of a book of the collected stories, and a collaboration with the museum.
Krahn said she is hoping area seniors will take part in the initiative.
“We really do love hearing people’s stories. One of the best parts of working in public service is getting to hear people’s different experiences, and this time we get to type them up so they can be shared with others,” Krahn said. “What may have been an entirely everyday experience for you is an amazing opportunity for someone else to learn about things they may never have realized they didn’t know. Contributing your story like this – whatever story it may happen to be – is of huge value to our community, and we hope you’ll help us to gather as many as we can.”
To register or for more details, contact the Morinville Community Library at 780-939-3292 or online at bit.ly/moristor.