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West Vancouver Memorial Library’s “Research to Remember” project

In November, the West Vancouver Memorial Library commemorated the 100th anniversary of Armistice by releasing their “Research to Remember: In Their Own Words” project – a collection of three new video interviews with veterans.

The library held a screening and live discussion with veteran Ted Langley on November 11th, and launched the online collection on November 1st. All the interviews are edited into short topical segments, fully transcribed, and text-searchable. This part of the project follows upon the library’s educational resources work developing primary-source packages about some of the soldiers whose names appear on the West Vancouver cenotaph.

“These interviews preserve for future generations the histories of veterans in our community who served in the armed forces,” says Peter Skinner, President of the Royal Canadian Legion West Vancouver Legion. “The recordings of their personal experiences offer deep insights into the impact of the war on their families and communities.”

The permanent virtual exhibit is online at digital.westvanlibrary.ca where the interviews with each of the three veterans may be viewed in full length or in short segments by topic. The interviews are also fully transcribed and text searchable, making this an invaluable new resource for researchers, teachers and students.

“By hosting the interviews in a virtual exhibit on our Library’s website, we connect local family stories to the collective history and memory of the war that are in libraries and archives across the country and beyond,” observed Library Board Chair David Carter. “The online exhibit of the recorded videos makes the interviews universally accessible.”

For Shannon Ozirny, Head of Youth Services at the Library, the interviews provide meaningful connections for learning and reflecting on our history. “We are fortunate to live in a time of peace and liberty steeped in the values of equality, fairness and justice for all people,” she says. “Recording the stories of our community’s veterans honours them and ensures that youth of today and tomorrow will be able to appreciate how hard people fought to protect these freedoms.”

We want to highlight this wonderful initiative as a way for heritage organizations to go beyond digitization and do impactful local history work with their communities, residents, and schools.

Students now in school rarely have a chance to personally interact with veterans and hear their stories, which means recording veterans’ experiences is crucial. If you’re interested in working on a similar project and want to know how ODW can help, get in touch.

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