Suffolk stories wanted at Morgan Memorial

Published 10:35 pm Friday, April 7, 2017

Suffolk Public Library is launching an oral history project next week to record citizen testimonials.

Suffolk Speaks will launch on April 15 at Morgan Memorial Library. Staff will use recording equipment to collect true stories from people that live, work and play in Suffolk from 2 to 4:30 p.m.

“History is very important in Suffolk,” library outreach and program manager Megan Mulvey said. “We wanted to show people that we recognize that, and we wanted them to be part of it.”

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Historian Kermit Hobbs will share his historical insights on Suffolk and the importance of local history. Attendees will use two recording stations to answer questions about how Suffolk has changed over time, and if they know of any local legends, Mulvey said.

They will be asked about their best, worst and weirdest Suffolk memories, and the questions may be reviewed in advance.

“We’re asking for meaningful memories,” she said.

Staff members will be able to help guests shape and prepare their stories. Listening stations with tablets and headphones will have prerecorded stories from staff to spark their interest.

“it’s also an opportunity to hear about staff experiences in Suffolk,” Mulvey said.

She said her recording will likely be about all of the familiar faces she often sees around the city, even though she commutes to work from Norfolk.

“It doesn’t matter where I go in Suffolk, I’m always seeing familiar faces in the town,” she said.  “I was really surprised by that, because I rarely see familiar faces in Norfolk.”

A family tree activity organized by the youth and family services department will allow children to start filling in names of family members, before taking their art projects home to “use it as an opportunity to start conversations with extended family members,” Mulvey said.

Recording events will be held monthly in Suffolk. The library will organize a program with the Suffolk Art League in May to record artists’ experiences. The Suffolk Art Gallery will partner with PFLAG in June to record the stories of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community in the city.

Mulvey said monthly recording events have been planned up to April 2018.

“We’re in this for the long haul until we get everyone’s story,” she said.

Call 514-7323 or visit for more information.