Photos submitted to be included in the Library of Congress' permanent collection show American life during the coronavirus pandemic

  • The Library of Congress is inviting Flickr users across the US to submit images documenting their experiences during the coronavirus pandemic for inclusion in its permanent collections.
  • The agency wants to assemble a "diverse collection" of images to help future generations understand the impact of COVID-19 on American life.
  • Since announcing the project on September 9, the Library of Congress has received over 450 submissions depicting everything from a boarded-up Gucci store to a teddy bear wearing a face mask.
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The coronavirus pandemic has fundamentally altered American life, and the Library of Congress wants to document it.

Over the past several months, the government agency has been working with nationally recognized photographers and artists to document aspects of the pandemic; now, it's inviting all Flickr users in the US to submit photos of their experiences during the coronavirus pandemic for inclusion in its permanent collections.

"It's time to represent many more parts of the country and many more aspects of the pandemic," Helena Zinkham, chief of the Library of Congress Prints And Photographs Division, wrote in the project announcement on September 9.

"Please help us create a diverse collection that can assist future generations in understanding the impacts of COVID-19," she added.

In order to have their images considered for inclusion, Flickr users must join the Library of Congress' "COVID-19 American Experiences" online group. Users can submit up to five images (either photographs or graphic artworks) representing how pandemic has impacted their life, community, or the US at large, the government agency writes on the group page.

"Examples of topics include, but are not limited to: pictures related to protective measures, online birthday parties, street scenes, distance learning, panic buying, lost jobs and new kinds of jobs, child care and elder care, etc. along with expressions of anxiety and sorrow, hope and humor," Flickr Community Manager Leticia Roncero wrote in a community post.

By submitting images, users grant the Library of Congress permission to add the images to its permanent collections as well as display on its website and Library of Congress Flickr account, the agency explains. Library of Congress editors will review all submissions and select standout images for inclusion in the group photo pool.

Since the project launched three days ago, nearly 450 images have been featured by the Library of Congress editors. Here are seven of the most captivating submissions so far: 

A woman wearing a blue face mask and gloves prepares to hail a cab in front of a boarded-up Gucci store on July 8 in Chicago.

Source: COVID-19: American Experiences by the Library of Congress

A stuffed bear wearing a mask hangs out on a bench in Winchester, Massachusetts on June 1.

Source: COVID-19: American Experiences by the Library of Congress

A customer gets their hair cut in a New York City barbershop on July 17.

Source: COVID-19: American Experiences by the Library of Congress

Photographs stand in for members of a church congregation on May 15.

Source: COVID-19: American Experiences by the Library of Congress

A wooden statue of a dog in the window display of a boutique shop in Bardstown, Kentucky displays a mask to remind reminds customers to put on their masks before entering.

Source: COVID-19: American Experiences by the Library of Congress

A once-bustling playground stands empty during the pandemic on September 11.

Source: COVID-19: American Experiences by the Library of Congress

Signs reading "Limit One Package of Bathroom Tissue — We want to be able to serve everyone" hang from empty shelves in a Saline, Michigan grocery store on March 22.

Source: COVID-19: American Experiences by the Library of Congress

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