StoryCorps comes to Nashville Public Library

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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. 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.

Select excerpts of interviews recorded in the Nashville StoryBooth may, with permission of the participants, be broadcast locally on Nashville Public Radio/WPLN (90.3 FM), and nationally on NPR’s Morning Edition or All Things Considered.

Media partners for the Nashville StoryBooth include Nashville Public Radio/WPLN (90.3 FM) and wpln.org, The Tennessean and tennessean.com. The Nashville StoryBooth is made possible through the generous contributions of Irene and Ridley Wills, Bridgestone/Firestone, and Ann Patchett.

A grand opening celebration for StoryBooth and the new Special Collections Center will be held Saturday, October 6, 2007 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at Main Library, 615 Church St.

A panel discussion about Nashville food memories and the importance of sharing stories, hosted by John Egerton of the Southern Foodways Alliance with speakers from famous local restaurants and food businesses, takes place from 11 a.m.-noon followed by a barbeque picnic lunch catered by Jim ‘n Nick’s.

Then StoryCorps founder and public radio pioneer Dave Isay introduces the StoryBooth with audio clips from some of the project’s most memorable interviews at 1:00 p.m. The public is invited to meet Isay and visit the new SCC and StoryBooth after the presentations. All events are free and open to the public but lunch reservations are required; call 862-5782.

StoryCorps is the Peabody Award-winning project of Sound Portraits Productions, the nationally acclaimed New York City non-profit organization founded by Dave Isay. For two decades, Sound Portraits has celebrated the lives and struggles of unheralded Americans in award-winning public radio documentaries, as well as in books, CDs, museum exhibitions and Web sites. StoryCorps opened its first StoryBooth, a freestanding soundproof recording studio, in New York City ‘s Grand Central Terminal in October 2003 and two mobile StoryBooths have been traveling the country since 2005. StoryCorps has recorded 10,000 interview sessions to date. Listen to excerpts from past StoryCorps interviews at www.storycorps.net.

StoryCorps is a collaboration between Sound Portraits Productions, the Library of Congress, and public radio stations nationwide. AT&T is a proud national sponsor of StoryCorps. Major funding for StoryCorps is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). StoryCorps is a project of Sounds Portraits Productions in partnership with NPR and the American Folklife Center (AFC) at the Library of Congress.