California is unique because of the 39.54 million people who call it home, and the California State Library wants to hear the stories of some of those residents.

It has created California Listens, and enlisted Berkeley-based StoryCenter to help document those stories.

The Stockton-San Joaquin County Public Library is participating in the venture and is seeking residents to commit to attending a free two-day workshop July 27-28 at the Cesar Chavez Library. The sessions run 9 a.m.-5 p.m. each day and by the end of the class, participants will have created a 2- to 4-minute video story of a moment in their life. Applications, available on the library website,, are due July 10.

“There will be an overview of digital storytelling, a story circle, discussion about concepts, script feedback, script and image work and possibly they’ll start doing voice-over on the first day,” said Stockton Librarian Suzy Daveluy. “The next day they’ll be doing the recording, will have a tutorial on video editing and will start editing and sharing.

“They get to decide how to tell their story. They’re not going to achieve final drafts in those days, but at the minimum they’ll leave with the voice over, a collection of images and a story board.”

StoryCenter staff will complete post-production work and the stories will be archived at the California State Library and in the Stockton-San Joaquin Library.

The goal, according to state Librarian Greg Lucas, is to create a snapshot of California in the 21st century. Joe Lambert, founder of StoryCenter said the plan is to create about 100 digital stories a year through groups in libraries throughout the state.

“One woman told me she was applying because she wanted to tell her mother’s story,” Daveluy said. “There are stories people want to tell and this is an opportunity to learn how.

“I think we all have wonderful stories to tell. Through sharing our stories we learn more about each other. When we get to know one another we build deeper understandings and deeper compassion, ultimately. This is a way to start a conversation. We’re getting to know our neighbors by telling the story of California through eyes and hearts of the people who live here.”

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