Thursday, 28 May 2020 15:18

Our Story, Our History: Local Libraries to Start Project to Document Life

Photo provided. Photo provided.

SARATOGA SPRINGS — The Southern Adirondack Library System (SALS) created an online survey to document life during COVID-19. 

“Leaving Our Fingerprints” is an online survey SALS is asking people of all ages in the community to fill out online. The information is collected anonymously and will be used to document COVID-19 in the Southern Adirondacks. 

The survey consists of 20 questions, and each question does not have to be answered. There is no limit to how many times the survey is done, and a second survey can be submitted if more information was discovered at a later time. 

Erica Freudenberger, outreach and engagement consultant for SALS, created the idea for the documentation. She was scrolling through Twitter when she noticed a post that recommended keeping a journal through the COVID pandemic. 

“Scientists, epidemiologists and historians had learned so much about the Spanish Flu from journals they found,” Freudenberger said. “When we began to work from home in mid-March, I spent a lot of time thinking about how we could create and maintain community in a time of pandemic. As a librarian, my first thought was: sharing stories.”

Freudenberger shared her idea with Sara Dallas, executive director of SALS, who was enthusiastic and told her to go for it. SALS is comprised of 34 member libraries in Hamilton, Saratoga, Warren, and Washington counties, and each library is autonomous, with its own board and director. They create the Director’s Council who very supportive of Freudenberger’s idea.

In addition, the Saratoga Springs Public Library, Crandall Public Library and Schuylerville Public Library put her in touch with library staff to help with any efforts. She then formed a committee at the end of April with Lorie Wies, local history librarian at the Saratoga Springs Public Library, Michelle Isopo, adult services librarian at the Schuylerville Public Library, and Jack Scott, tech and youth services consultant SALS.

According to the “Leaving Our Fingerprints” website, by collecting stories the community can become witnesses to history, helping to provide insight into daily life during the global pandemic.

“We want everyone to participate. There are 20 questions, but you don’t have to answer them all. We’re also collecting images, gifs, and digital documents, if people want to share artwork, poetry, photos, or TikToks – we’re open to however people want to share their pandemic story,” Freudenberger said.

The survey can be reached online at www.sals.edu, or contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with questions. Currently there is no end date to the project, as Freudenberger said they’re leaving it up for the length of the pandemic. 

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