Getting to Know Your Neighbor: The Mill Valley Oral History Program in Action

The Mill Valley Public Library recently launched a series of interactive library programs aimed at bringing members of our community together for conversation, learning, and social connection. The Know Your Neighbor pen pals initiative connects people through letter exchanges, while the accompanying Know Your Neighbor podcast will collect and share stories of the people who make up our community. In addition, the library’s Finding Common Ground series invites community members to learn about and reflect on contemporary social issues together through film screenings, feature events, and book discussions.

Coinciding with this array of interactive library programming, we recently updated our oral history program website to allow for better access to more than 150 oral histories available online. What better way to know your neighbor, both past and present, than to hear the voices and stories of Mill Valley residents over time, as told in their own words? Representing the breadth of Mill Valley history, from its early days to the beginning of the 21st century, the oral history collection addresses everything from natural disasters to discrimination, spirituality, education, the arts, the environment, and so much more. You can now explore the collection by era, by topic, or by interviewee name.

Go online to see some of the latest additions to our ever-growing collection, including an illuminating interview with retired fireman and mountain bike enthusiast Otis Guy and a conversation with enterprising gallery owner Robert Green. We also just added a recording of Locke McCorkle, who provides rich description of his time at the bohemian community of Druid Heights. See an oral history on the list that sparks your interest but isn’t available online? Come on down to the History Room at the Mill Valley Public Library to read the transcripts and listen to the audio recordings of other oral histories in the collection. Our collection is growing all the time, so please check back to catch up on the latest interviews. Exploring these oral histories might just help you understand your neighbors, and your city, in new and interesting ways.

- Marissa Friedman

Marissa Friedman is a library assistant in the Lucretia Little History Room, Mill Valley Public Library.