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Library Works To Gather Flood Survivors Stories

June 9, 2012, 10:00 PM by Derek Olson

Library Works To Gather Flood Survivors Stories

With this weekend's flood commemoration bringing so many survivors to town, the library in Rapid City is inviting people to preserve their memories for future generations.

The 1972 Flood impacted thousands of people in and around Rapid City.

"It affected everybody. Everybody knew someone who was killed or injured or missing," Rapid City resident Don Wrede said.

But, until now, so many stories from that night and the subsequent recovery have gone untold.

"It enables people to come in and share that memory, even if it's taken them 40 years to do so," library associate Janet Parr said.

Parr is helping record people's stories this weekend and has witnessed the flood of emotions remembering the disaster can stir up.

"It's been profound. It's been touching, heartbreaking at times. I'm actually very proud to be a part of this community today," Parr said.

But taking personal histories isn't the only thing that the library is doing. They're combining that with other information to give people a more comprehensive look at what happened back in 1972.

"We're not only digitizing the oral history components, but we're also putting forward the historical documents; so it becomes a book, so to speak, a virtual book in that respect," library director Greta Chapman said.

The project's goal is to draw a link between policy decisions and how they affect real people.

"You take those stories and you take the information and you have a very powerful medium for future generations," Chapman said.

"In a tragedy has come something that has made this town very beautiful," Parr said.

If you have a story you want to contribute, the library will be open Sunday from noon to six.

To take a look at the dozens of oral histories already collected or other information on the flood, visit the Rapid City Public Library's website.

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