Oak Park Oral History Project

Stories help connect us and build community. The Oak Park Oral History Project captures and shares local oral histories through an online collection.

“It’s so interesting to hear people’s experiences and find that there is so much we all have in common,” says Adult Services Librarian Rose Barnes. “Hearing people’s stories forges connections and builds community, for generations to come.”

Let’s get started! Not sure what to ask? We’ve pulled together some suggestions to help open up conversation. Try these prompts »


Check out a kit (or use your own equipment)

Oak Park cardholders can check out kits designed specifically to record personal stories for submission to the collection. Kits include an iPod with a charging cable, a microphone, professional headphones, and an instruction sheet, all in a plastic carrying case.

  • Use a kit inside the library for up to two hours at a time (ask at the Main Library lobby service desk)
  • Check out a kit for one week at a time (ask at the Main Library lobby service desk or place a hold)
  • We can help! Tech Time drop-in sessions are held in the Main Library Creative Studio. See Tech Help Drop-In session days and times. Complete a form for a specific date and time. Request an appointment »
  • You can also use most smartphones, tablets, laptops, desktop computers, or any digital device with a microphone. We recommend downloading the Voice Record Pro app from the app store on iOS and Android devices.

Submit an oral history recording

  • Anyone can submit a story (or stories!) at any time.
  • As your public library, our goal is to build a wide range of experiences that reflect Oak Park’s uniqueness, connectedness, and diversity.
  • Personal anecdotes featuring collective cultural wisdom and treasured local experiences are most welcome.
  • Before you submit your story, please be sure it is an MP3 audio file and an original work to which you own the rights.

Let’s listen & learn from each other

This digital library initiative is funded in part by a grant from AgeOptions.