LIRT Oral Histories

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ALA Emerging Leaders

The ALA Emerging Leaders program enables new librarians from across the country to participate in problem-solving work groups, network with peers, gain an inside look into ALA structure, and have an opportunity to serve the profession in a leadership capacity. It puts them on the fast track to ALA and professional leadership.

This year, one Emerging Leaders team was asked to conduct the oral histories of past LIRT leaders and put together a presentation for our 35-year celebration.

This site is one of the final products of their work and is a culmination of the final video, the planning documents, original interviews, and additional resources for anyone wishing to conduct a similar project.

The Project

LIRT 35th Anniversary Celebration: An Oral History Project 

from Emerging Leaders Team J 2012 on Vimeo.

Here's how we did it:

BEFORE THE INTERVIEWS

  • We first researched the process of conducting oral histories and the history of library instruction. Check out our resources!
  • Next we formulated a set of questions to guide the interview process and prepared a few necessary documents.
  • We contacted the past leaders of LIRT and set up interview times using a "shared" calendar. (Google, of course!)

THE INTERVIEWS

  • We used Skype to call the interviewees, and Pamela to record those conversations through either video or audio-only format.
  • The original interviews were stored in a shared DropBox folder for safekeeping, and copies were made for future editing.

AFTER THE INTERVIEWS, PRODUCING THE VIDEO

  • Each team member excerpted segments of the interviews that could potentially be used for the video production.
  • One team member listened to the excerpts and produced themes for the video.
  • Each team member chose a theme and picked out corresponding clips from the interviews, placing them in order for the video.
  • One team member put together the video.
  • The team compiled a Google site to temporarily host the project until space is made available on the ALA website.


Project Objectives

The stated goal of the original project was to record and preserve the history of ALA’s Library Instruction Round Table (LIRT) in conjunction with its 35th Anniversary Celebration in June 2012. The desired outcome was to have the audio and video recordings linked to the new LIRT homepage when it is migrated to the ALA website. The original steps were as follows:

  1. Researching different methods to preserve oral histories.
  2. Selecting a method or methods to record and preserve oral histories of long-time members of LIRT. Some suggested methods include the following:
    • Video recordings, podcast creation, telephone interviews, video-chat (such as Skype), etc.
    • The medium(s) used for this project are open-ended and the Emerging Leaders can select mediums that they are most familiar with using or interested in exploring
  3. Using chosen methods to record and preserve the history of LIRT for future cohorts of LIRT members.