Wednesday, January 2, 2008

StoryCorps wants Nashville voices from different cultures, demographics

"The fabric of America"

If you know of a Hispanic Nashvillian who has participated in StoryCorps or plans to participate, please send a story tip to the editor.

This fall, the Nashville Public Library became 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.

According to this Nashville Scene story, StoryCorps is looking for personal tales from different demographics:
Jim Havron, the Nashville Public Library’s liaison with StoryCorps, is keenly aware of the need to record stories from outside the typically white, affluent public radio demographic: “We very much wish to include all groups of people. We’re making a special effort through community outreach to involve minorities, low-income folks and the elderly.”
There is a specific community outreach effort named The Griot Initiative, for example, to capture the stories of African-Americans.

In a press release, Nashville Public Library director Donna Nicely described Nashville's history as one with a wide variety of stories:
“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 is located in the Nashville Room on the second floor of the downtown Main Library, 615 Church St. The public can make interview reservations by visiting or calling 862-5800.

The StoryCorps StoryBooth will be in Nashville until September 2008.

Photo by John Lamb.

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