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Pennsylvania Libraries COVID-19 Digital Archive

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

Do you only want one institutional response (i.e. one official library response) or are   questions and submissions open to all library employees?

All library employees are welcome to participate and of course, the director can provide a more "official" overarching response if they wish to do so in their entry.

May our library's patrons participate?

Yes. All library patrons are encouraged to participate to document your community's collective experiences.

I am not a frequent library user. May I still participate?


May children participate?

Children under age 18 may only participate with the direct supervision and approval of a legal parent or guardian, keeping in mind the child's personal privacy and security. Access and download a consent form (Word).

I am a teacher or College faculty member and I'd like to turn this into an assignment or opportunity for my students, is there anything I need to know?

Yes. Participation by persons under the age of 18 requires the permission of their legal parent or guardian. In addition, participation is strictly voluntary, and you cannot in any way require, incentivize, or put any form of pressure on students to participate. If you choose, you as a teacher or faculty member can simply make the students aware of the possibility to submit responses and/or digital content as contributing to our shared experiences for future generations.

I am not a resident of Pennsylvania; may I still participate?

No. Out of state residents may not participate but may be able to contribute to a similar initiative in their local community.

Should I redact third party names, or will you?  Is there anything I should avoid writing about?

You should redact or withhold all sensitive, or private personal and third party information, including health and other information identifiable to a specific person, which may be protected by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA), or other privacy laws or rights.

Can submissions be anonymous?

Your contact information such as full name, address, and email will remain confidential to authorized State Library employees only. You may choose to remain anonymous as far as your name being displayed in the State Library's online, public digital repository alongside your responses/submissions. If you choose to remain anonymous, anything you submit will be labeled as anonymous but display your county of residence in order to give context to your submission. Please keep in mind that details you otherwise provide in your submissions may reveal your identity.

Can my submission be restricted from use for a period of time?

In order for the collection to be immediately useful to scholars we do not wish to restrict access, but you may choose to have your name withheld from your submission.

Is there a deadline for submissions?

There is no deadline for submissions.

Can I see the questions in advance?

Yes. Some people may want a preview of the questions in order to compile their thoughts and responses (PDF) before going to the live form.

Do I have to answer all the questions or write a large amount on each?

No. It is at your discretion which questions to answer and with what degree of detail. Please keep in mind that the more detailed and richer your responses, the more valuable the documentation of your experiences will be to future scholars.

How frequently can/should I submit?

This is up to you. If you want, you can send separate submissions in installments via the submission form or you can send it all at once when you are finished compiling your materials. For something that is cumulative in nature such as a journal/diary it would be easier to submit this all at once rather than in installments.

What form of documentation do you prefer?

We can accept any form of expression such as commentary, diary, social media posts, audio narration, photographs, zines, so please just choose one that suits you. We prefer the following file formats: documents=.doc, .docx, .pdf,.xls, .xlsx, .ppt, .pptx - audio files= .mp3, .wma; video files= .mkv, .mp4  - photo files= .jpg, .tiff.

Can my submission include multiple formats? 

Yes! For example, you might have a written diary, but also want to include some photographs.

What should I document?

You may document or comment on anything that is notable to you, positive or negative about your personal experiences during this pandemic. What have you observed and felt about what you are experiencing and hearing on the news? Has it been lonely or have you been able to connect with people in other ways? Are you exploring new skills and hobbies? Are you anxious about your job or getting ill yourself? What has been the most or least challenging aspect of this pandemic to you?

Does someone using the form have the opportunity to save their work on it and come back to it later? 

No. Participants cannot save their responses and return to the form later, but can preview the submission form questions in order to gather their thoughts before going to the live form.

Each project participant can submit up to five files, right?

While our form/questionnaire is set up to accommodate up to five files, participants can contribute more than five files by contacting us at

Our library is doing something similar in our local community. Can you host our library' collected materials on COVID-19? 

Yes. Please contact to discuss options.