Don't keep those old photographs and precious documents boxed away in the attic.

Include them as part of the rich history of Palos Verdes Peninsula.

The Palos Verdes Library District is working to build a community digital archive one photograph and one recording at a time. And the library's Local History Center invites the public to participate with two projects.

The first project, "Your Story is the Peninsula's Story" invites residents to bring up to five photographs or documents, either current or historical, to be scanned into the library's archives. The scanning is free and on the spot with documents immediately returned. You can also bring in a USB flash drive containing the photographs.

The event is Saturday, Feb. 23 from 1 to 5 p.m. in the Peninsula Center Library, Community Room. All scanned material becomes part of the Palos Verdes Library District’s digital archives to be preserved for future generations at palosverdeshistory.org.

“The idea is that through all these different stories and contributions that people are making, you really get a different sense of what the Peninsula is. Everyone’s experiences are so different,” said Monique Sugimoto, archivist and local history librarian.

Sugimoto suggests bringing in key materials, such as immigration or naturalization records, or something that made them fall in love with the peninsula.

As a quarter of the Peninsula residents are now over 65, said Sugimoto, historical photos and documents are an important part of showing how the community has evolved, both geographically and demographically.

“This is also an opportunity to capture their memories and stories before we are no longer able to do that,” said Sugimoto. "This project also helps document the diversity of the post-WWII period of Peninsula history."

Residents are encouraged to share photos representing everyday life on the Peninsula, Photos can be from decades past or from recently. Documents from local community groups are also welcome. 

Since the project's inception four years ago, more than 150 photos and documents have been collected. They range from family photos to personal documents, such as an old school report card from the 1920’s, and a birthday card from a son to his father. Photographs include a dog leading a horse in Rolling Hills, and a Christmas photo of a family with 10 siblings taken in 1979.

Sharing stories of women and power

The second project by the Local History Center is the Listening's Station's "Women and Power: Sharing Stories."

The Listening Station is a recording booth that captures two people in a 15-30 minute conversation. The topic is how women experience social power: how to achieve it, how to avoid it and how to grapple with messages that tell women they are powerless while also being told they are strong and capable.

The library launched "Women and Power: Sharing Stories" last year in collaboration with Berkeley-based StoryCenter.

As part of Women's History month, the library premieres six of these digital stories March 5 at 6 p.m. at the Peninsula Center Library’s Community Room.

For more information about either "Women and Power" or "Your Story is the Peninsula’s Story," contact Monique Sugimoto at msugimoto@pvld.org or (310)377-9584, ext. 213.

You may also make an appointment with Sugimoto to scan materials or record stories on the Listening Station.

Rosa Kwon Easton is an attorney and writer who lives in Rolling Hills Estates. Visit her blog and website at rosakwoneaston.com.

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