We are inviting the library community to join in this initiative by sharing the history of your library, untold stories from those you serve, or your own history in relation to libraries. This is an opportunity to celebrate unsung library heroes, record origin stories, and share the transformative power libraries have had on you and your community. These histories will then be added to the Personal History Initiative digital archives, preserved for future generations as part of the public record.

The NYS Library's 4th Tasting History Series returned in early 2023 showcasing recipes from the 18th century. As the source for our recipes, we used Amelia Simmon’s American Cookery. This is the first cookbook to be written by an American and published in the United States. The NYS Library’s Manuscripts and Special Collections unit has a copy of the 2nd edition, which was published in 1796 in Albany, NY. 

The Sugar Maple is New York’s iconic tree, and from it oozes the most delicious sweet stuff to grace your breakfast plate. Do you collect maple syrup from your own trees, or is there a store brand you love most? Homemade or store bought, let us ‘leaf’ you with this question: Where do you drizzle it?

New York is known for its towering skyscrapers, but it is also home to one of the largest publicly protected wilderness areas in the United States. City dwellers can’t help but flock north to get a breath of the Adirondacks' fresh mountain air and gaze upon the dappled colors of its undulating landscape in autumn . What’s your favorite thing to do or place to go to get away from it all?

New York and much of the country have been facing record breaking heat this summer. NYC experienced a long 90-degree streak while parts of upstate New York either saw record-breaking temperatures or it was just plain hot. With this extreme heat, New Yorkers might cool off by taking a swim in a local pool or lake. What's your favorite body of water? Take a pic at your favorite lake, river, or pond!

Our monthly challenge for July of 2022 was Fireworks! Throughout the summer months, fireworks may be used to mark significant events. It’s a way for community to come together as they celebrate and watch fantastic displays. Where do you go to watch fireworks? Do you have an annual tradition with family or friends? Do you prefer to find a quiet place away from the noise?

We kicked off our monthly challenges in June of 2022 asking New Yorkers about Signs of Summer! What makes you excited about summer? What are you looking forward to? Do you do anything special for the Summer months? Keep cool with some ice cream? Look for fun air-conditioned activities? Or maybe you love the heat and sit out by the community pool?

In 1970 a group of Black Librarians met to address the problems resulting from widespread racism in their profession. The problems fell into two major categories: Libraries in Black communities were most often inaccessible, had neglected facilities, and had inadequate staffing and resources. It was increasingly evident that minority communities were being left behind in accessing the avalanche of information so indispensable in a rapidly changing technological society. Blatant restrictions consistently blocked the Black Librarians' professional advancement.

New Yorkers were prompted to document their experiences during the pandemic using video, photos, and journaling and submit those items to the New York State Library for future generations to study and learn from.