Chelsea Community Foundation Awards $25,000 to the Chelsea District Library for Oral History Project

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Contact: Theresa Fraley 313.961.6675 Chelsea, MI – The Chelsea Community Foundation, an affiliate of the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, awarded a two-year, $25,000 grant to the Chelsea District Library to support a project documenting the history of the Chelsea community. The project, entitled “Oral History Project: A Vision of Community,” will interview members of founding farms and families, veterans, employees and owners of local landmark businesses, and community leaders in Chelsea. This grant will allow the library to conduct video interviews with hundreds of individuals in order to tell the story of Chelsea. Previously, the Chelsea District Library partnered with the Chelsea Senior Center to interview more than 200 people who attended one-room schoolhouses and produced the “One-Room Schoolhouse” film, which has aired on public access television. The success of “One Room Schoolhouse” led Bill Harmer, adult services librarian at the Chelsea District Library, to develop this latest project. “What is significant about these projects is that in many cities, there are other organizations that can sometimes take on this type of role, but in a small town like Chelsea, the library plays many, diverse roles, so it is especially significant for us to be doing this, otherwise the history will be lost,” said Harmer. Harmer hopes the oral history projects become a model for other libraries and will help them think about how information is distributed throughout communities. He has been asked to speak at library conferences across the country in order to share his experiences with the “One Room Schoolhouse” project. “The Chelsea District Library is changing the way people think about libraries. Instead of waiting to receive content, it is creating the content and preserving information for future generations,” continued Harmer. Collaboration is vital to the success of this project according to Harmer. The project will bring many organizations and people together to visit moments in time and look at the people that were critical to the history and development of the Chelsea community. For updates on the oral history project, visit www.chelsea.lib.mi.us. If you have questions about the project, please contact the Chelsea District Library at (734) 475-8732. The Chelsea Community Foundation is a charitable endowment fund that provides an ongoing source of revenue for qualified and needed programs and activities in the Chelsea community. Founded in December 1995, the Chelsea Community Foundation has a permanent charitable endowment of more than $1.3 million and has awarded more than $930,000 in grants to organizations working to improve the quality of life in Chelsea and surrounding communities. The Chelsea Community Foundation is an affiliate fund of the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan. -###-

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