Six of the Great River Regional Library (GRRL) branch libraries hosted StoryCorps, a nonprofit organization dedicated to recording people’s stories. Recordings were made of conversations with StoryCorps’ special team and equipment. Each interview pair received a copy of the recording, and the stories are archived at both GRRL and the Library of Congress.
GRRL counted all participants (18 slots per branch; all were full for the Melrose recording dates; 16 of 18 slots were full in St. Cloud; Little Falls had 8/18 slots full; Staples filled 16/18 slots). GRRL also has an archive of the sound recordings made. GRRL is allowed to edit sound recordings for posting on our website, and project that has yet to be undertaken. The first locations (Annandale and Elk River) had 16 and 18 slots full, respectively. There are two 'attendees' per recording session, so this is a total of 184 attendees.
(StoryCorps mission is to provide Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, share, and preserve the stories of our lives. Since 2003, StoryCorps has collected and archived more than 30,000 interviews from more than 60,000 participants. Each conversation is recorded on a free CD to share, and is preserved at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. StoryCorps is one of the largest oral history projects of its kind, and millions listen to our broadcasts on public radio and the web.)
Event Dates and Locations: Recording dates and locations: March 14-16 Annandale, March 18-21 Elk River, April 15-17 St. Cloud, April 19-21 Melrose, May 16-18 Little Falls, May 20-22 Staples.
Partner Organization(s): StoryCorps and Historic Oliver H. Kelley Farm (Elk River)
Partner Organization(s) Contribution/Role in the Program:
StoryCorps provided recording equipment, staff, and prompting questions to begin conversations.
The Kelley Farm took reservations and recruited attendees for the Elk River event.
The goal of this activity was to foster the telling of stories. The goal is to encourage conversations and the recording of oral histories/stories of citizens of central Minnesota. Our goal was to collect anecdotal responses about the experience from participants.
Attendees/people who were part of creating recordings were highly satisfied with the process. Many anecdotal responses gathered related that it was a wonderful experience, and that people learned things about their friends or family that they never knew. This project built positive attitudes toward oral history and increased attendees’ knowledge of their loved ones.Here’s what one person wrote to us after being interviewed by StoryCorps:“I just have to express my admiration for StoryCorps and my gratitude to Matt and Yazmin who recorded me in Elk River, MN, yesterday… I had the privilege of speaking with Yazmin, a StoryCorps interviewer. And boy, did I rattle on. …I have to say my StoryCorps experience was everything I could’ve hoped for and more. StoryCorps is collecting a valuable resource for historians and future generations. It is also sharing the message that we all have stories—big stories, important stories—that shine a light on this amazingly varied experience we call life.”