Tell Your COVID Story

A student attending remote school during the 2020-21 school year is sitting at a desk inside a home while wearing headphones and looking at the screen on his school-issued Chromebook

Help Write History

Since the beginning of the pandemic, you've likely seen the phrase "unprecedented times" repeated often in many contexts. Often when documenting times of great import to our history, historians use firsthand accounts as key resources for shaping the narrative of important events. Things as simple or seemingly pedestrian as diary entries, family photos, or text messages and emails about daily events can provide invaluable context to life during "unprecedented" times.

This is where you come in.

The Wichita Public Library received American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to document the effect of COVID-19 in Wichita. We need you to help us document this moment in history.

Did your life stay the same during the pandemic, or did you have to make drastic adjustments? Were you pro-mask wearing and vaccine or against it? Did you work on the front lines during the pandemic or did you end up working from home for a significant period of time? Did you suddenly find yourself homeschooling your children or supervising online school? What did everyday occurrences like meals with your family or time with friends look like? What did holiday celebrations or major life events during COVID-19 look like?

We want to hear from you – no matter what your world looked (or looks) like during the pandemic.

Take the questionnaire

How You Can Help

  1. Share your pandemic experience by completing one or more of our questionnaires. You can also pick up a printed copy at any Wichita Public Library location.
  2. Help us collect a visual representation of the pandemic in Wichita. Examples of what we are looking for include:
    1. Photographs or videos that show masks, social distancing, vaccine clinics, changes made to your place of business to promote customer and staff safety, or other visual representations of the pandemic in Wichita;
    2. Emails, text messages, social media posts, letters, mailers, diary or planner entries, or other communications dealing with the early days of the pandemic, reactions to stay at home orders, gathering limits, mask mandates, or any other pandemic-related topic;
    3. Examples of signage posted at businesses, religious institutions, or residences about masks and social distancing;
    4. Banners or yard signs celebrating graduates or the heroes that work at a business;
    5. Newsletters, bulletins, programs, invitations, or other documents that include reference to pandemic-inspired changes (services moved outdoors, mask requirements, prayer requests, etc.);
    6. Fiction or poetry that you wrote, music that you composed, or other artistic works that you created that show insight into your pandemic experience.

Digital submissions (.jpg, .tif, .pdf, .mp3, .mp4) can be emailed to . Physical materials can be brought to the Research Pavilion at the Advanced Learning Library (711 W. 2nd St, Wichita, 67203) where staff can make arrangements to digitize the material and return them to you.

View the Submissions

Thank you to everyone who has told us their story. We have separated responses into four categories:

  • Images of a pandemic: photographs submitted by the community that show the pandemic experience in Wichita
  • Impacts of a pandemic: information about how the pandemic affected life in our community
  • Creative works from a pandemic: works inspired by life during a pandemic
  • Voices of a pandemic: oral history interviews about the impacts the pandemic has had on the lives and jobs of members of our community

We will continue to add to these collections, so keep checking back for updates.

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