Quickly created home offices, family, friends and strangers wearing masks and once bustling stores, restaurants, and streets now deserted are all daily scenes as Los Angeles residents navigate their way through the COVID-19 pandemic.

In an effort to preserve this unusual period in time in its visual history archives, the Los Angeles Public Library (LAPL) is inviting all Angelenos to contribute photographs, written and digital correspondence, art, social media posts and other visual materials that document life during the Novel Coronavirus pandemic. 

“We want materials that demonstrate social distancing, the transition to telecommuting, what it is like to be an essential worker or changes in daily routines, family dynamics, and interactions with others,” said Librarian Kelly Wallace, LAPL’s California History Subject Specialist. “We want to build a collection — photos, diaries, creative works like drawings and poems to help future researchers, historians and students understand what it was like living in Los Angeles during the COVID-19 pandemic.” 

Submissions are encouraged from diverse perspectives, particularly from communities that are not normally represented in archives, Wallace said. 

All submissions must be in digital form. Residents can scan or take digital photographs, said Acting Senior Librarian Suzanne Im, who runs the library’s Digitization and Special Collections. Submissions will be curated and made available in a digital collection accessible through the LAPL’s online special collections’ portal, TESSA: https://tessa.lapl.org.

“It is important to collect and preserve the history of the COVID-19 pandemic as it happens, because the volume of digital information people have to deal with, as well as format obsolescence, puts these artifacts in danger of being lost to future generations,” Im said. “The Safer at Home archive is an evolution of the work that the Los Angeles Public Library has been doing to collect community histories directly from its members. Personal items like photographs, letters, and diaries are not only important to future generations but might also become national treasures.”

For more information about the “Safer-at-Home” Archive or to access the required submission form,” visit lapl.org/safer-archive or send questions to rarebook@lapl.org.