Tell Us Your Pandemic Story

History Now The Pandemic Diaries Project

Learn about the Pandemic Diaries Project in other languages: En español


As of July 9, 2021, the Pandemic Diaries project is no longer collecting submissions.

Thank you to all who participated in this project!

Over the next several months, the Library will review, preserve, and process each submission. When that is complete, the Pandemic Diaries collection will be made accessible to the public.

If you have any questions about the project or your submission, please email



Pandemic Diaries: Frequently Asked Questions

Why Do We Want to Preserve Your Pandemic Diary?

The New York Public Library is committed to preserving and making accessible the stories that shape our history so that people today, along with future generations, can better understand our world and each other. The audio diaries we collect will document the experiences of people from all walks of life, in their own words. These diaries will be archived in NYPL’s research libraries—the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts—to be preserved and made available to the public, scholars, journalists, and students for decades to come.

Who can contribute?

Anyone 18 years or older can contribute their story to Pandemic Diaries.

What kind of material can I submit?

The Pandemic Diaries project collects audio recordings only. At this time, we are able to accept files of up to 25 megabytes in size (approximately a 25-minute recording).

Why can’t I submit a video?

Most video files exceed 25 megabytes, which is the largest file size we are able to accept at this time. It is the goal of this project to be able to accept video files in a future phase of Pandemic Diaries.

What should I talk about?

The pandemic has affected almost all aspects of our lives, and this project seeks as many unique stories as possible. We’re looking for reflections on families and parenting, education and cultural institutions, business and work, essential workers, life in quarantine, #BlackLivesMatter and protests for racial justice, health care and hospitals, trauma and mourning, the recession, mutual aid, art and literature, community organizations, politics, and much more.

What rights do I grant NYPL when I agree to submit my Diary?

Before submitting your file, you must read and accept an agreement detailing the terms of donation. When you submit your story to Pandemic Diaries, you retain the copyright of your submission, and you are agreeing to let NYPL use it and preserve it.

Can I submit my Diary anonymously?

You are required to share your name and contact information when you submit your Diary. If you prefer that your submission be made anonymous to researchers, you can indicate this in the form by selecting “anonymous.”

Please note that NYPL will retain names and contact information for all contributors whether or not they choose to anonymize their submission.

If you choose to anonymize your Diary, take care not to mention your name in your recording, or to share any identifying information that you would not want a future researcher to hear. NYPL will not edit or redact submissions to remove identifying information.

How do I create an audio file on my phone?

To make an audio recording on an iPhone, open the Voice Memos app, and use the red record button to start and pause your recording. When you have completed your diary, tap Done, name your recording, and press Save.

Not all Android phones come with an audio recording application, but there exist several free downloadable apps that allow you to take extended and good quality audio recordings.

How do I create an audio file on my computer?

To make an audio recording on any Apple computer, open the Voice Memos application, and use the red record button to start and pause your recording. When you have completed your diary, tap or click Done, then click on the words “New Recording” to name your file.

To make an audio recording on a PC running Windows 10, open the Voice Recorder application. Click on the microphone to start recording. When you have completed your diary, tape or click the blue square. Your recording will be saved to a folder in your Documents directory called Sound Recordings.

Any tips on how to make a good recording?

Before launching into your story, do a test recording to make sure that the audio is clear, crisp, and isn’t overwhelmed by interference or background noise. If using your phone, consider mounting or propping it up (rather than holding it) to improve the audio quality and to avoid rustling noises. Do not move your device while recording.

Will my Diary definitely make it into the collection?

The Pandemic Diaries project seeks to gather as many different and diverse stories as possible about the pandemic and its many impacts. NYPL reserves the right not to include a submission in the collection if it does not meet technical requirements or does not address the topic of the project.

When will my Diary be made accessible to the public?

The Library takes great care in its review and description of collection items. Each submission goes through a formal accessioning process; undergoes review, preservation, and cataloging; and is then made accessible to the public in accordance with NYPL’s practices and policies. As such, it may be some time before the Pandemic Diaries collection is fully processed and made available to the public.

How long will NYPL be collecting Pandemic Diaries?

We will collect Pandemic Diaries until July 9, 2021.

Who can I contact regarding additional questions?

Please email if you have any additional questions.