Community Diary - Covid-19, 2020

Community Diary - Portsmouth COVID-19 Pandemic

Consider participating in this project to express yourself, stave off boredom, and preserve our local history!

The Portsmouth Public Library is endeavoring to historically document this unusual time in our shared Portsmouth, Virginia History. 

To further our mission to document and make Portsmouth history accessible, we have started this diary project to capture the social, economic and personal accounts of the impact this pandemic has had on our residents and community. 

To become a part of this history collection effort, please feel free to contribute a short, written entry, upload a photo, answer our question prompts, and/or upload longer documents that you would consider appropriate to share. These entries will eventually be shared and made accessible. 

Please remember: 

  • Make sure to get permission from people you feature in your story.
  • Please do not share personal medical or other private information.
  • Share only details that are appropriate for all ages
  • If you are under 18, please obtain the permission of a parent/guardian (see below)

Note: We care about your health and well-being. If you are experiencing trauma and need support, please seek help from one of the community resources listed found here. You can always share your story with us later!

Files are being gathered in Google Drive which requires participants to have a gmail account to upload files. If you do not have a Gmail account, or have questions or problems with this form, please send files and diary entries via email to

The name and photo associated with your Google account will be recorded when you upload files and submit your entries. 

Whether you contribute to our community diary project or create your want to create your own journal, here are a few helpful resources to get you or your kids started!

Quarantine journal guidelines:

  1. Decide how you will create your journal. Writing it down?  Creating a document in MS Word or Google docs? Video? Audio? Photos only?  
  2. In your first entry, remember to tell bit about yourself – anything you want people to know, and to give context for your entry
  3. Include whatever you would like from there.  Talk about how your days have been spent – are you working from home?  Are you a healthcare worker? Deemed an essential employee?  How has life changed? What is your daily routine like? Include things that have made you happy, laugh, or cry. (Yes, future historians are going to be studying memes – help them do it!)  Include craft projects, your Netflix list, quarantine walks, and generally whatever gets you through this moment. Share stories and kindnesses, fears, worries, dreams and thoughts for the future!
  4. Keep going until we are out on the other side!
  5. Donate! 

To get an idea of what donating to an archive is like, refer to this guide from the Society of American Archivists.

The Great Diary Project gives an excellent overview of why diaries and journals are so important for historians!

To participate, click here and fill out our form.