Saturday, May 24, 2003

Library joins project to share interviews with war veterans

The Cincinnati Enquirer

The Mary L. Cook Public Library in Waynesville has videotaped more than 130 interviews with war veterans.

It's one of four organizations in Southwestern Ohio that has teamed up with the Veterans History Project at the Library of Congress.

"It's been thrilling for us, very educational, uplifting and moving to listen to these stories," says Kathy Colvin, one of three Waynesville library workers who interview veterans. Most interviews are done at the library, but special sessions have been set up at a Veterans of Foreign Wars branch and the U.S. Air Force Museum near Dayton.

The library ships one copy to the Library of Congress and keeps one copy. When cataloging is complete, Waynesville library patrons will be able to view the tapes, Colvin says.

At Mariemont Junior High School, library aide Nancy Bisbe has begun audio- and videotaping war veterans who live in the school district, which includes Fairfax and Terrace Park. She recently received a $1,000 grant from the Greater Cincinnati Foundation, which was matched by the Parent-Teacher Organization.

"It's our way of combining the school family with the community. We're hoping that eventually students will become involved as archivists," she says. In time, interviews will be accessible on the district's Web site.

Ohio's 23 local partners in the Veterans History Project include the Fairfield-based Association of Patriotic Arab Americans in the Military, and a Cincinnati-based Web site, Gulf War Veteran Resource Pages.

Kentucky has 10 local partners, including AARP Kentucky and Lexington's Aviation Museum of Kentucky. Indiana's 20 partners include schools, historical societies and veterans groups.

A complete list of local partners is on the Veterans History Project Web site.

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