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Volunteers Needed: Neighborhood Oral History Leaders


VOLUNTEERS NEEDED: Neighborhood Leaders for the NYPL Community Oral History Project

Oral History Project in Greenwich Village

Project Background

The New York Public Library's Community Oral History Project is an initiative taking place throughout the NYPL system that aims to document, celebrate, and make accessible the rich history of the city's unique neighborhoods by collecting the stories of people who have experienced it firsthand.

Since November 2013, the Community Oral History project has trained over 300 interviewers to collect more than 1,000 stories. All recordings are available on this site and will be archived in the Library's Irma and Paul Milstein Division of United States History, Local History and Genealogy research collection.

'Neighborhood Leader' Role and Responsibilities 

As the project moves into fall 2016, we’ll be documenting stories in Kips Bay and the Lower East Side. We’re looking for volunteers to fill a new and exciting leadership role in this program to help build local collection efforts by facilitating oral history trainings and assisting the project director in engaging volunteers through community events and regular communication.

Additional responsibilities will be based on individual volunteer interests and could include any or all of the following:

  • Community outreach and research
  • Event planning and support
  • Volunteer interviewer inquiry support
  • Oral history highlight production
  • Audio upload and metadata entry

General time commitment

Volunteer Neighborhood Leaders will be trained to co-facilitate one two-hour neighborhood interviewer orientation session on a weekday or weekend in October/November. Additionally, 2 - 4 office hours per week (it's flexible!) will be scheduled for each volunteer for the six month duration of the neighborhood project (October 2016 - March 2017).

Skills and Interests

We’re looking for students, educators, community organizers, storytellers, and New York City appreciators! You'll be working together to help engage community members to collect undocumented neighborhood stories.

The following skills/interests are helpful (but not required) for this volunteer position:

  • Community organizing and outreach
  • Public speaking across diverse audiences
  • Attention to detail
  • Program planning
  • Oral history methodology

Application Deadline: Monday, September 26th by 5:00pm ET.

Please send your resume and a brief e-mail of interest (no more than 250 words) to by Monday, September 26th.  

**A training date is scheduled for Saturday, October 8 from 10:30 AM - 3:00PM** (If you are unable to make this training date, please let us know).

Questions? Please call 212-621-0552 or e-mail

Listening to oral histories at Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library


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Bronx Volunteer for NYPL's Oral History Project

Hi Alexandra, I'm Ariam Alula and I live in the Bronx. I love what the NYPL is doing with the Oral History Project, and would like to be involved. I sent an e-mail to the project's address a week ago, and then discovered the person managing the project -- Alexandra Kelly and found this call to volunteers in a Google search. According to this post, the volunteers would have ended their stint earlier this year in March. (Ironically, the training held for them happened exactly one year ago!) If the project is still ongoing, then I'd like to help. Please reach me via the e-mail that I posted in this comment box. Thank you for doing this.

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