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Remembering Camillus project launches this summer

Katy Benson has big plans for the Remembering Camillus oral history project, launching this summer at Maxwell Memorial Library. Staff and volunteers will help archive a collection of recordings that tell Camillus' history through the experiences, recollections and perspectives of local residents - and it requires your memories.

Benson, library director at Maxwell, hopes to eventually archive the collected recordings online and have them available for check out in the library. She would like to someday be able to develop an interactive Web archive that would allow listeners to comment on a recording and jumpstart a dialogue.

But first, the project needs people willing to sit with an interviewer and have their memories recorded. With so many lifelong residents and multi-generational families in the Camillus area, that is proving the most difficult part of the project.

When Maxwell feted it's 90th anniversary last year, the Remembering Camillus project was one of many activities the library set up to celebrate the occasion. But interest in recording for the project was limited.

Only four people signed up to participate during the anniversary celebration, Benson said.

This summer, the library will give the project another go, holding free workshops to help hone interviewing and story-telling skills throughout the summer and culminating in a "recording blitz" in August.

A second attempt

Made possible through a grant secured by Sen. John DeFrancisco, the library purchased a digital recorder and materials and prepared to record memories.

Children's librarian Kelly Chambala plans to enlist some technical help from teens through The Town Shop, which Benson sees as an added benefit to the project.

"Teens working with older people it's so rewarding for both sides," Benson said. Providing a connection across generations in Camillus and allowing younger residents a glimpse of their own local history will be an added bonus for younger volunteers.

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