North Country community finds modern way to preserve the past

Published: Jul. 14, 2022 at 5:10 PM EDT
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KEENE VALLEY, N.Y. (WCAX) - A North Country community has come up with a modern way to preserve the past. It’s called “My Adirondack Story.”

“You know we are a small, rural library,” said Karen Glass, the Keene Valley Library director.

If there is one thing the Keene Valley Library knows, it’s the importance of stories.

“I know that stories are lost when someone dies and there are wonderful stories,” Glass said.

In the archive room, you’ll find hundreds of hours of audio history for the small Adirondack town, and see thousands of photos and first editions that read of the community’s history, preserved in plastic.

“Long time I’ve been trying to figure out how to make those accessible,” Glass said.

“We needed to do it in the media of today,” Jery Huntley said.

In modern times, the archives aren’t convenient to connect with the community. That’s when Huntley stepped in with the idea of “My Adirondack Story.”

“This area of the country has so much history,” she said.

In 2018, she started collecting three-to-five-minute stories told by members of the community. The storytellers can be any age and share any story, as long as it has to do with the Keene Valley community.

“When we started this, we didn’t know where we were going,” Huntley said.

Since then, more than 250 stories have been shared. They are accessible online and offered at no cost. Slideshows of photos accompany the stories. The stories are separated into eight categories like daily life, people and catastrophes.

They have a podcast, too, that combines stories on common themes.

The project hopes to keep the community connected to one another and be used as a teaching tool for the next generation.

“There are stories that teach and stories that entertain, and if we don’t pass on our history by story, it will be lost,” Glass said.

It’s a project that gives pride of place a whole new meaning.

“The next generation will want to know what you did,” Glass said. “What’s ordinary to you won’t be ordinary in 50 years.”

The Keene Valley Library will celebrate the 250-story milestone on July 23 from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. There, they will talk about the project and play some of the stories. It is a free event and everyone is welcome.

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