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Share Your Stories at Brooklyn Public Library's Oral History Project

 Brooklyn Public Library is collecting stories and memorabilia from the borough's residents as part of its
Brooklyn Public Library is collecting stories and memorabilia from the borough's residents as part of its "Our Streets, Our Stories" oral history project.
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Brooklyn Public Library

BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — What’s your story?

The Brooklyn Public Library is asking Bedford-Stuyvesant residents to tell their tales of the neighborhood as part of the “Our Streets, Our Stories” program.

The oral history project that started in 2014 records local narratives to “figure out the Brooklyn that is and the Brooklyn that was,” based off the experiences of the community, according to program manager Taina Evans.

“It’s one thing to say, ‘I live in this community,’ but it’s another to hear what your neighbors have to say about it,” said Evans, who also serves as coordinator of older adult services at BPL.

Through half-hour, informal interviews, participants are invited to tell their “Brooklyn story.”

During two events this March, residents in Bed-Stuy can record their memories at the Macon Library branch on Lewis Avenue.

The project has gathered accounts from contributors in Clinton Hill, Flatbush, Greenpoint and other neighborhoods throughout the borough, Evans said.

Accounts range from recollections of the 1960 Park Slope plane crash and Greenpoint’s food scene, to the disappearing storefronts in each community.

“Brooklyn is so diverse, so we want to make sure we’re capturing this diversity,” Evans said.

“These are things you’re not going to typically see in a textbook or the books the library provides…it’s all based on the narrators’ insight and where they wanted to take us.”

The stories will be available in BPL’s archives and are also posted on the project’s website.

While residents are invited to share their memories at a specific branch, “Our Streets, Our Stories” team members can also meet interviewees at outside locations.

On March 6, the team will be at Green-Wood Cemetery, and on March 8, they’ll visit Bed-Stuy’s Boys and Girls High School to interview teachers and host a scanning event, Evans said.

In addition to the oral history component of the project, BPL is collecting Brooklyn memorabilia and materials to help share the borough’s stories.

Participants can bring photos, fliers, documents from families, businesses, community organizations and more to be scanned into the library’s archives.

“Public libraries are a place where you can have access to local communities in a way that not many organizations do,” Evans said.

“It’s just like digging into your neighborhood’s past.”

BPL will host “Our Streets, Our Stories” on March 23 and March 26 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Macon Library, 361 Lewis Ave. For more information, visit the BPL website here.