What’s Your Story? Tell It through StoryCorps at SPL

Swarthmore Public Library is now participating in the storycorps.me project, which facilitates interviews and recording of the stories that connect us. Perhaps you’ve heard examples of the StoryCorps format on National Public Radio: two people with something in common get together in a recording booth, sharing stories and observations about their lives.

StoryCorps.me streamlines the process of gathering and recording interviews, with local libraries as a primary vector. In Swarthmore, librarian Lucy Saxon is well positioned to oversee the project. Since taking an oral history class during her Masters of Library Science program, she has been interested in gathering stories.

“Oral history is very important to the future and function of public libraries. It’s a positive way to gather knowledge and to share wisdom and experiences for posterity, as well as the present. StoryCorps reminds us of what makes our life rich and our stories worth telling.”

The process is easy, and recording can be done anywhere, simply by using a free smartphone or tablet app. The library has a tablet for public use, and Lucy can come to a recording location you choose. She can provide interview advice and a starter set of questions.

Several interviews in the series so far are posted at the “Online Resources” tab of the SPL website at swarthmorepubliclibrary.org.

The first interviews were with Charlie Devaney, longtime owner of Swarthmore Hardware, and with historian Nancy Webster, who in a two part interview, recalled Swarthmore of long ago and her involvement in Quaker civil rights activities.

“I am fortunate to have friendly relationships with many Swarthmoreans, born out of my childhood here,” Saxon says. She is encouraging acquaintances to take part in StoryCorps interview sessions, and while she has been the interviewer thus far, she says, “I would love to have mutual storytelling involving pairs or groups.”

Think about it: no one has the unique combination of knowledge, personality and experience that you do. Even if you don’t think of yourself as a storyteller, there is probably something that only you can share with listeners, now and in the future. StoryCorps at Swarthmore Public Library may be the perfect way to pass your story on.

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