Clarion University’s Department of Library Science is partnering with the Library of Congress to conduct interviews for the Veterans History Project.
Established in 2000 by act of Congress, the VHP seeks to compile “a lasting legacy of recorded interviews, memoirs and other documents” that chronicle the wartime experiences of veterans and other citizens.
To aid in the expansive efforts of the Library of Congress, the department of library science hopes to gather perspectives from student veterans.
“The department’s initial focus was on interviewing World War II and Korean War veterans,” said library science associate professor James T. Maccaferri, “but this year we’re concentrating on interviewing student veterans enrolled at Clarion University.”
Maccaferri encourages all local veterans to come into Carlson Library for an interview, which typically lasts between 30 and 60 minutes.
Maccaferri sees Clarion’s VHP efforts as a student project.
“Students contact the veterans, conduct the interviews, write the interview logs and follow up on numerous other details necessary to the project’s success,” he said.
Last year, graduate students Michael Widdersheim and Sasha Gallant wrote and received a Graduate Student Grant to support the project.
Students from all disciplines are encouraged to participate in the project as interviewers, videographers, background researchers, etc. In addition to saving the stories of American’s veterans, Maccaferri sees the VHP as a way for students to learn the basics of oral history. Library science master’s students also benefit directly through assignments in relevant classes dealing with local history collections, metadata, and digital libraries.
Library science graduate student and VHP researcher Sarah Everett finds the most rewarding part of the project is being able to meet and hear the stories of so many different people.
“It’s really a great opportunity to be the one with whom these veteran are sharing their stories, and it’s something I will never forget,” she said.
“Through the eyes of Clarion County veterans, I have witnessed the second airliner strike the World Trade Center on 9/11, participated in the relief of Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge in 1945, and gone along on convoy duty in Iraq, to name just a few.”
The department of library science asks that those interested in scheduling an interview or volunteering for the project to please contact Dr. Maccaferri at firstname.lastname@example.org or 814-393-2271.
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