Library Hosts COVID-19 History Project for Boyle County

Published 9:26 pm Thursday, April 23, 2020


News release

The Boyle County Public Library (BCPL) launched a community writing and photo project for residents of Boyle County called the Danville-Boyle County COVID-19 History Project. This project will chronicle the personal experiences of members of the local community during the COVID-19 shutdown.  

Why is the Library doing this project?

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Libraries are the keepers of information – not only of the newest bestselling books and movies, but also of family records and local history. The COVID-19 pandemic changed our lives — closing schools, shuttering businesses, and causing record high unemployment – and it is important to record these events in first-person accounts as they unfold for future reference.

BCPL Reference Librarian Jamie Helle and Reference Assistant Steve Ellis are heading up this local history project, which was inspired by a similar project introduced by Henderson County Public Library (KY). 

Helle and Ellis pulled together five writing prompts which will steer the project and are meant to act as a starting point for participants. “Although these are tough times we are living through, I’m excited that future generations will have first-hand accounts of life as it was happening during the pandemic,” says Helle. “Local history isn’t only about the past, it’s also about providing information for the future.”

Helle goes on to explain that this is history in the making. “It’s important to record our experiences as we live through such an impactful time in history,” she says. In the months and years to come, memories of specific events and even the emotions felt during this time may fade or become clouded. Recording experiences as they are occurring helps maintain the accuracy of the recollection. With that in mind, the library would like to utilize the history project to collect and archive individual stories and images that recount or illustrate the impact the COVID-19 pandemic had on the Danville-Boyle community. 

Once archived, all entries submitted for this project will be made available to anyone interested in learning about the experiences of Boyle County residents during this time. All residents are encouraged to record their personal stories while they are happening to share with the project. Helle hopes entire families will take part in the project, from parents to school age kids who were affected, so she is working with the library’s youth services department to develop some age-appropriate history project activities for younger children so they can more easily participate.

There are multiple ways people can submit their responses to the writing prompts, which are listed below and on the library’s website. Responses can be sent to with “Boyle Covid History Project” in the subject line, or submitted online at Paper copies will also be accepted once the library reopens to the public.

Writing Prompts:
  1. When did you first hear about the virus? Did you pay much attention to the news of the virus before it started to affect the United States? When did you start to realize that the virus might have an impact on your life?
  2. During this time, regarding the changes imposed because of the virus, which changes have had the biggest negative (or positive) impact on you? What impact have they had on your daily routine?
  3. If you have been quarantined due to possible interaction with someone who tested positive for COVID-19, or if you have tested positive, what has your experience been like? How are you coping, physically and mentally?
  4. Because of the physical distancing measures, have you reconnected with anyone? Who were they? (If you prefer to use pseudonyms, just put quotation marks around the fake names.) What led you to connect with them? What method of technology did you use to reconnect? What did you learn from reconnecting with them?
  5. What acts of kindness (or instances of people behaving badly) have you seen or experienced during the shutdown?


Project Guidelines:
  • Choose any (or all) of the writing prompts to complete. Write at least one paragraph for each prompt, but no longer than a double-sided sheet of paper per prompt. 
  • Responses can be sent to or may be submitted directly to the library’s website. Physical paper copies will also be accepted when the library reopens.   
  • Photo entries and drawings that display the changes we have encountered will also be accepted. 
  • All items submitted will be collected and archived by library staff for future historic value. This archived information will be made available to the public so anyone can learn about our community’s experience during this time.
  • All ages are invited to participate. 

Any questions relating to the history project can be sent to

In addition to the history project, the library offers a growing number of virtual activities. More information about these activities is available on the library’s website at Anyone with questions or needing help accessing the library’s online resources may contact the library Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. via email at, or via Facebook Messenger at Patrons can also reach specific departments via the library’s website using the dropdown menu available on

The Boyle County Public Library serves the city of Danville and the surrounding communities, and is actively committed to enriching the lives of its patrons. The library is located at 307 West Broadway in Danville.