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  • Collegian staff

Willamette library requesting community contributions for new collection

Sophie Smith


Willamette’s Mark O. Hatfield Library is accepting contributions to its new special collection, titled “COVID: Experiences, Thoughts & Feelings.” Students, faculty and staff members may contribute pieces of work that reflect their experiences living through the COVID-19 pandemic. The collection, which is the first digital collection of its kind at Willamette, is intended to reflect contributors’ experiences living through this unique time, both by sharing their experiences with others and by preserving these experiences for future community members to read.

Contributions should be original and are encouraged to be thoughtful and creative. The library’s website says some contribution options include “sketches, audio recording of music, a recorded dance performance, a photograph, poem, story or essay.” The library is accepting submissions through May 31. After that, the library will create a digital exhibition featuring selected contributions.

Art by Blake Carlile

The collection includes both a public and historical collection, and interested contributors can submit their work to either or both sections. The public collection is currently available for Willamette students, faculty and staff to access. The historical collection, however, will not be shared publicly until 2025. 

Stephanie Milne-Lane is the processing archivist and records manager for the Willamette Archives and Special Collections. According to her, the historical collection’s embargo, or delay in its publication, allows people to contribute to the collection while still keeping their work private for the time being.

“The five year embargo allows submitters to share, but to have their feelings/thoughts kept private as they continue to process the raw emotions that come with living through COVID-19,” wrote Milne-Lane in an email. 

When the historical collection is released in 2025, some submissions will be added to the digital exhibition. Those who submitted content can contact the Archives to request their contribution be removed from the collection.

Submissions should not be larger than 1GB, and should be sent in one of the following kinds of files: .docx, .pdf, .jpg, .png, .wav, .aiff, .mp4 and .mov. 

Every piece contributed will be included in the collection, but library staff members will determine what pieces to feature in the publicized digital exhibition. 

Milne-Lane said that if someone is interested in contributing to the collection but would like their contribution to remain anonymous, or if they have a submission that can’t be digitally uploaded, they can email her at

Currently, the collection can only be accessed by Willamette students, faculty and staff, although in future years it will be available to a wider audience. 

Milne-Lane said this is the first time the library has digitally collected community members’ submissions for a collection. 

“The current health crisis forced us to innovate and initiate digitally collecting so that Willamette students—wherever they are at the moment—can contribute to the collection.”

Willamette students, faculty and staff can contribute their work to the collection at

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