by Steve Haruch
This fall, Nashville Public Library becomes only the second institution in the nation to host a "StoryBooth," an outpost of StoryCorps, the award-winning national project that encourages Americans to listen to each other by sharing the stories of their lives in sound.
Select interviews gathered at StoryBooths—small freestanding recording studios placed in public spaces across the country—are broadcast on National Public Radio (NPR). The interviews also added to the StoryCorps archive at American Folklife Center (AFC) at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., building an oral history of America.
"We are thrilled to have been chosen as a StoryBooth location," said Donna Nicely, director of Nashville Public Library. "This project underscores our library's vision to preserve and share across generations the wisdom, culture and history of our community.
"Our city is rich with human stories that cross all cultural lines, from the brave stand of local students in the Civil Rights movement to the fascinating and colorful development of the music industry to the family stories of the people who live in our city today. Nashville is a great place to explore the fabric of America."
The Nashville StoryBooth will be located in the Nashville Room on the second floor of the downtown Main Library, 615 Church St., for one year. Interview slots are open to the public by reservation only beginning October 6, 2007. Reservations can be made by visiting storycorps.net. The library can assist those without computers in making reservations; visit any branch library or call 862-5800.
People participate in StoryCorps in pairs—often friends or loved ones—with one person interviewing the other. Any topic can be discussed, from funny family stories, memorable experiences and life lessons learned, to documenting participation in an historic time or event. A trained StoryCorps facilitator guides the participants through the interview process and handles the technical aspects of the broadcast-quality digital recording. At the end of the forty-minute session, the participants get a CD of their interview and—with their permission—a second copy is sent to the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress where it becomes part of the nation's oral history archive.