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Story Guidelines

Welcome to the Story Guidelines Page!

The Life Story Library Foundation collects and preserves the personal life stories of our time as valuable, recorded history. To do this, we provide a variety of accessible options for people to save and share their stories. Sign up now by clicking the register button – on the menu bar – so you can upload your story files.

We have established four, unique collections, each with its own purpose and accessibility:

Polished Works Collection

This is the premier  collection for the preservation of polished story materials. Memoirs, personal histories, videos and other finished works will be archived according to best practices, preserved in tangible and digital formats, and made freely available to the public through the Digital Public Library of America. The Life Story Library invites financial contributions to sponsor the stories in this collection.

Feature Stories Collection

This is an invitation for your story to be featured on the website and in other publications of the Life Story Library. If your story is of interest to the general public, please submit it here for consideration.

Memorial Tributes Collection

This is an opportunity to honor a deceased loved one with a personal story, using an online platform. Memorial photos and stories will remain online for six months.

Time Capsule Collection

This is an informal, large-scale repository of stories for possible future research and preservation only. These stories can include eye-witness accounts, anecdotes from daily life, and “here and now” personal insights within a contemporary historical context.

General Guidelines

  • Register to use the website and enjoy the activities, resources and benefits of being involved.
  • Base story materials on the real life experiences of the author, preferably told in first person voice.
  • Be respectful, fair and sensitive with story content. In general, provide reference to others by relationship rather than name, and focus on what happened to you and what you learned from the experience.
  • Reflect on topics such as courage, transformational experiences, insights, inspiration and human interest. Engage the reader by sharing key story elements (e.g. character, action, conflict and resolution).
  • Be mindful of the details, since the story will become history. Check the accuracy of the facts, and include supportive photos, documents and links. With the materials, authors should provide search terms (also called “metatags”) for easy public access and future reference.
  • Review the Story Submission Guidelines (forthcoming), and follow the tips for how to send the story materials to the Life Story Library.
  • Select the story format (print, audio or video), as well as the type of collection that provides the best fit for your story.
  • Sign a release form, permitting the Life Story Library to archive, use and share the story.
  • Understand that all stories are subject to review and may be upgraded for new uses, if the story is compelling in nature. Should the author disagree, the Life Story Library will respect the author’s preferences.

Story materials are archived in partnership with the University of Utah J. Willard Marriott Library and made accessible through the Mountain West Digital Library, a hub of the Digital Public Library of America.

Topics Worth Considering

  • A teacher who changed my life
  • Seeking freedom and dignity – my experience
  • An unheralded story of courage
  • Facing life with a disability
  • When home is far away
  • My biggest mistake and what I learned from it
  • Children at risk—an inside story
  • Sportsmanship and character
  • Changing the story I tell myself
  • Why I treasure a memorable family tradition

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