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Volunteer Neighborhood Leader Positions: Community Oral History Project


Lower East Side children
One of the neighborhoods we'll be focused on is  the Lower East Side. Above, LES children at play.

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 300+ interviewers to collect 1,000+ stories, making it the largest volunteer-driven project in NYPL history. 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.

Volunteer Neighborhood Leaders

Role and responsibilities overview:

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 leadership role in this program and help build local collection efforts by facilitating oral history trainings and assisting the project manager 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:

  • Pre-training organizational and community outreach
  • 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 expected to co-facilitate one 2-hour neighborhood interviewer training on a weekday or weekend in October/November. Additionally, four office hours per week will be scheduled for each volunteer from mid-October 2016 until May 2017.

Skills and Interests

We’re looking for students, educators, community organizers, and New York City appreciators!

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

  • Interest in community organizing and outreach
  • Experience developing community partnerships and collaborations
  • Public speaking ability across diverse audiences
  • Attention to detail
  • Program planning
  • Basic interest in oral history field

Application Process

A training date is scheduled for Saturday, October 8 from 10:30AM – 4PM. Please make sure you are able to attend this training if you apply to be a Volunteer Neighborhood Leader.

Interested applicants should send a resume and a brief letter of interest to by Monday, September 26. Applicants will be contacted for a phone call during the week of September 26 and notified by October 3 about the status of their application.