News / Edmonton

EPL digital storytelling project a new chapter for Edmonton experiences

The library encourages citizens to share their story through video and audio

Raquel Mann (left) and Susan Chau (right) talked a video project that EPL launched that allowed people to rent equipment to film and share their stories.

Kevin Tuong / For Metro

Raquel Mann (left) and Susan Chau (right) talked a video project that EPL launched that allowed people to rent equipment to film and share their stories.

The library has always been a fountain of stories for Edmonton — but now they want to hear the stories from citizens.

The Edmonton Public Library (EPL) launched a Canada 150 digital storytelling project earlier this year, giving Edmontonians a chance to tell their stories through video and audio.

“We wanted to find a way to gather and share that content, and really put a focus on local content,” said Raquel Mann, an EPL digital public spaces librarian.

“We wanted to create skill-building, programming, and support for community recording and sharing of stories.”

While YouTube is the most popular video sharing website, Mann said EPL chose Vimeo to host their project for its focus on content and its respectful filmmaker community—which was perfect for their highly accessible and locally-focused content.

“We’re working with a wide range of people from all ages and different backgrounds,” said Susan Chau, a community librarian at the Clareview branch. “It’s nice to have an easy platform where they can upload.”

Now they have over 20 videos uploaded on their Vimeo site since the launch of the project earlier this year, from Edmontonians of all ages. Mann said they hope to get 150 videos by the end of the year.

Chau helped youth digitally tell their stories in numerous elementary and junior high schools across Edmonton.

At J.D. Bracco school, she guided a class full of students from different countries to tell their stories in a collaborative video.

“It’s been an emotional journey for all of us involved,” she said. “When everyone shared their story, they realized…everyone experienced loss or change, or moving to a new place. It built a lot of empathy and understanding.”

Other videos uploaded on the EPL Canada 150 site include a Grade 5 student who transferred schools after the Fort McMurray fires, and a woman who made a quilt that represented her friends in her community.

“The community league (at J.D. Bracco) had a showcase,” said Chau. “It was just great because you know who your neighbours are, you know that kid down the block and you know their story and it got people talking … we’re hoping to have more showcases.”

Mann says that the library plans to post monthly story prompts on their social media later this year to encourage more Edmontonians to tell their stories.

“The sharing is really wonderful for so many reasons,” she said. “But the process of doing these programs and doing a story is just as important.

“Some people have a very powerful experience making the story and that’s what’s most important: that the experience is meaningful, whether they choose to share their story or not.”

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