About the COVID-19 in Houston Memory Project 

On January 21, 2020 the United States confirmed its first COVID-19 case in Washington State. Less than two months later, Texas was reporting positive cases of the coronavirus and on March 13, 2020 former President Trump declared a state of national emergency. In Houston, city employees faced the challenges of balancing their “essential worker” status with the uncertainty of the times. At the Houston Public Library, staff navigated work from home options, took on new roles as temperature takers and call-center assistants, and responded to calls to create digital content and offer curbside access. This transpired all in the midst of massive protests across the nation around social justice issues and a divisive presidential election.  


HPL’s Oral History Archivists believe it is important to document the Houston experience during this ongoing global crisis. Houston’s diverse population can offer many unique perspectives on life during this major crisis. The Houston Metropolitan Research Center and the African American Library at the Gregory School seek to document and preserve these memories to help future researchers and the general public understand how Houstonians experienced this unprecedented time. 

How to Participate 

If you, or someone you know, is interested in participating in this Memory Project, follow the steps below. Feel free to share this page!  


Step 1: Complete the Memory Project Interest Form

Step 2: An archivist will contact you to schedule your pre-interview call

Step 3: Virtually "meet" with the archivist to record your interview on Microsoft Teams


How to Prepare for Your Interview FAQs:

What Should I Expect During My Interview?

Before recording your interview, the archivist will check the sound and/or camera, and will ask you if you are ready to begin. The archivist will give a brief introductory statement so the title of the project is recorded and then begin the interview session.

    1. Interview sessions will run approximately 15-20 minutes, but may be shorter or longer.
    2. You may ask to pause or end the interview at any time.
    3. Our goal is to have a conversation about serious topics in a comfortable setting.

Can I use a filter or background available in Teams?

Yes, but please ensure that your background is a high-resolution image. We ask that you use an image that is appropriate for a professional setting, such as an office space.

How soon will my interview be published online?

This is an ongoing project. Our goal is to have your interview posted within three weeks of recording, but it may take longer depending on the volume of participants.

Can I recommend someone for this project?

Sure! During your pre-interview call, please feel free to give us recommendations for Houstonians we should contact for future interviews.

Can I bring a guest to join in my interview?

You are welcome to have someone in the room with you off-camera for technical assistance or emotional support. However, if you would like to conduct a joint interview, both parties must sign and submit the Consent Form.

What videoconferencing platform do you use?

HPL currently uses Microsoft Teams. Please read this page before your interview so that you can be familiar with the Microsoft Teams platform: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/office/join-a-meeting-in-teams-1613bb53-f3fa-431e-85a9-d6a91e3468c9

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