Making “Friends” at the Library with Randy Flaum

If you’ve spent any time around York, you’ve probably seen Randy Flaum, the “York StoryMan.” He’s often out documenting daily York County life from behind the lens of his camera.

He has honed his visual storytelling skills for more than 50 years. During this time, he has worked both independently and as the assistant managing editor for visuals at the York Dispatch. Since his retirement, he has remained active, including after school programs at Martin Library, at the Salem Square Library, and at the Conewago Valley Intermediate School.

Making “Friends”

Randy believes that video stories can help empower young people to use their creativity and digital skills to help change their communities. In September of 2019, he started the “Friends” program in partnership with York County Libraries’ Martin Library and Glatfelter Memorial Library locations. This program pairs middle and high school students, including many students who are home schooled, with senior York Countians who don’t often get a chance to speak with younger people.

The Process  

Randy Flaum engaged students at Martin Library and Glatfelter Memorial Library over the winter. There, students learned interview skills and videography, photography, and storytelling techniques. Following the workshops, each of the students was partnered with an older York Countian. The students conducted video and photo interviews, asking their new ‘Friends’ about their experiences growing up, their thoughts on life, and well-seasoned advice.

 

The students all started with the same question: “What message would you tell your younger self?” From there, the students’ creativity and new skills took over. These interviews took place at the York Towne House (York, PA), at Windy Hill on the Campus (Spring Grove, PA), and at both libraries. The result is two fantastic compilation videos, which we are happy to promote here!

The Product

The longer of the two videos offers insight into what it was like growing up in years gone by. You can find that video on Randy Flaum’s YouTube channel by clicking the thumbnail to the left.

 

 

The shorter video answers the question about what advice the seniors would give their younger selves. Find it by clicking the thumbnail to the right.

 

They are both well worth the time to watch them!

Explore more

Of course, Randy Flaum also photo documented the whole process. You can find these photo collections on his SmugMug site here:

We hope the York County Libraries audience enjoys this project as much as we do! Thank you to Randy Flaum for sharing his talents and inspiration with our young library users!